New Chums

THE HUNGRY AND THE WORLD’S OPPRESSED, WE WERE THEIR SONS AND DAUGHTERS

TRAVELLING TO THIS LAND OF HOPE, FROM WARTIME’S TROUBLED WATERS

THE FLAG THAT WAS TO GREET US, TO MANY WAS UNKNOWN

BUT THROUGH OUR PARENTS SWEAT AND TEARS, THAT FLAG BECAME OUR OWN

 

STRANGERS ON A STRANGER SHORE, WE KNEW WHAT WAS IN STORE

WOGS AND DAGOES, KRAUTS AND BAULTS, THE LABELS THAT WE WORE

YET IN SPITE OF PREJUDICE, OUR SPIRITS DID NOT YIELD

IN CLASSROOMS AND ARENAS, WE EXCELLED IN EVERY FIELD

 

WE WATCHED THE OLD MEN STRIDING, EACH YEAR IN THEIR PARADE

THEN PLAY SOLDIERS WITH OUR CLASSMATES, IN SOME HARMLESS CHARADE

WE KNEW THE NAMES OF HEROES REVERED IN OUR NEW HOME

WHO PAID THE PRICE OF FREEDOM, WHEN THEY FELL ACROSS THE FOAM

 

WE FOLLOWED IN THE FOOTSTEPS, OF THOSE WHO’D GONE BEFORE

SELDOM ASKING QUESTIONS, IN SOME FOREIGN WAR

WE ALL STOOD TOGETHER AND FACED THE NATION’S SCORN

STARING DOWN THE INSULTS, BESIDE THE NATIVE BORN

 

SEVERAL DECADES LATER, OUR CHILDREN SERVED AS WELL

IN DIFFERENT WARS AND CAUSES, TO THE SAME GATES OF HELL

THE ENSIGN ON THE CASKET, CARED NOT FOR PLACE OF BIRTH

WHEN YOU WEAR THE NATION’S UNIFORM, AS YOU LAY BENEATH IT’S EARTH

 

SO WHEN YOU STOP AND PONDER, OVER NAMES ON MARBLE STONES

TAKE THE TIME TO REALISE, THEY ARE NOT ALL SMITHS AND JONES

FOR THOSE WHO FELL ALONG THE WAY, BY WARTIMES TRAGIC ROAD

FOREVER TO BE REMEMBERED, DURING BINYONS SOMBRE ODE

 

By Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton
12 September 2019

 

FILE PHOTO (2017): A RAAF member of the HMAS Adelaide crew walks among the headstones of Bomana Commonwealth War Cemetery, in Papua New Guinea. Photo by Private Roger Brennan.

 

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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