BOCKA’S BOOTS

THERE’S A PAIR OF BOOTS, WITH A DIGGER’S HAT, MOUNTED FOR ALL TO SEE

A SILENT IMMORTAL TRIBUTE, FOR THEY’RE SURE TO OUTLAST ME

THEY REST THERE, CAST IN BRONZE, A REMINDER OF BATTLES PAST

WHEN THROUGH OUR NATION’S DARKEST DAYS, THE WEARY LINES HELD FAST

 

THEY SLUSHED ACROSS NEW GUINEA, BY A MUTITUDE OF ROUTES

SPARKING MANY MEMORIES, SO WE CALLED THEM, BOCKA’S BOOTS

I MET HIM MANY YEARS AGO, IN OUR LOCAL RSL

I’D SIT THERE CAPTIVATED, BY THE YARNS THAT HE WOULD TELL

 

HE TRECKED ALONG KOKODA, AND UP TO SHAGGY RIDGE

WHERE DAYTIME WAS A SAUNA AND NIGHTIME WAS A FRIDGE

A UNIFORM OF ROTTING RAGS, SMEARED WITH COMRADES’ BLOOD

A FESTERING MESS OF HIS OWN SWEAT, JUNGLE SORES AND MUD

 

WE’D CATCH UP EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT AND GATHER ‘ROUND THE BAR

HIS UNIQUE LAUGH WOULD LET ALL KNOW, THAT BOCKA WASN’T FAR

SINGING SONGS LIKE SUVLA BAY AND HEART OF MY HEART

IF WE’D EVER BEEN AUDITIONED, WE’D HAVE NEVER GOT A START

 

HE WAS A FATHER FIGURE, WHEN MY ADULTHOOD HAD BEGUN

OFFERING ME SOUND ADVICE AND SPEAKING ILL OF NONE

I JOINED HIM EVERY ANZAC DAY, FOR NEARLY TWENTY YEARS

AND WATCH THE SUN RISE AT THE DAWN, THROUGH OUR MISTY TEARS

 

HE HAD NO CHILDREN OF HIS OWN, WITH PATIA HIS LOVING WIFE

IN A TRYING, TROUBLED WORLD, THEY WERE MATES FOR LIFE

ALWAYS THERE TO GUIDE ME, WHEN THE TIMES WERE GRIM

SO, WHEN WE HAD OUR SECOND SON, WE NAMED HIM AFTER HIM

 

AS TIME AND DUTY TOOK ITS’ TOLL AND DISTANCE MADE IT HARD

WE ALWAYS TRIED TO KEEP IN TOUCH, WITH A SIMPLE CHRISTMAS CARD

BUT SADLY, WE LOST CONTACT AND I THOUGHT HE’D MOVED AWAY

I MADE MYSELF A SOLEMN VOW, TO TRACK HIM DOWN ONE DAY

 

I TRIED SO HARD TO FIND HIM, THROUGH FRIENDS I THOUGHT HE’D KNOW

BUT EACH TIME, I DREW A BLANK, I HAD NOWHERE ELSE TO GO

THEN ONE DAY I FOUND HIM, AT NINETY-SEVEN YEARS OF AGE

LAYING A REMEMBRACE WREATH, ON A SUB-BRANCH FACEBOOK PAGE

 

ALAS MY HOPES WERE ALL IN VAIN, WHEN I READ THE SOMBRE POST

BOCKA HAD PASSED, TWO DAYS BEFORE, ALL I WAS SEEING WAS HIS GHOST

HE MADE HIS FINAL JOURNEY, ACROSS ETERNITY’S BRIDGE

AND NOW HE RESTS, WITH THE MATES, HE LEFT ON SHAGGY RIDGE

 

By Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton
27 April 2020

 

 

FILE IMAGE: Bocker on Remembrance Day 2019 – superimposed over a slouch hat and boots. Background photo by Corporal Nunu Campos – Bocker’s photo supplied by Tomas Hamilton – digital composition by CONTACT. 
Bocker died a couple of days before Anzac Day 2020. It was like he knew it was canceled.


 
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Posted by Brian Hartigan

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

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