2010 Winners

The Babies of Walloon Award – Open Age Bush Poetry

Second Prize

A Soldier Brave
by Brenda Joy
Charters Towers, Qld

I saw the news, horrific views of a soldier coming home –
though brave of deed, no life to lead, and never more to roam.
From far Iraq they sent him back – another Aussie dead.
Beloved son – her only one – a mother’s tears were shed.

His coffin’s drape – and honoured cape – our flag of Southern Cross,
but stars of light can’t hide the sights of that’s poor mother’s loss.
Such empathy I feel as she lays flowers on his tomb –
my son still fights for human rights where cultured poppies bloom.

For God who gave a soldier brave for me to nurse a while,
I steered your days of boyish plays though childhood tear and smile.
Your wounds I’d chafe and keep you safe encircled in my arms.
Each memory comes back to me – my treasure chest of charms.

With adulthood, I understood, you had your life to lead.
Your wife brought joy and baby boy – I watched your plans succeed.
But world moved on, with dream-times gone – another path you trod –
although I care I’m well aware, you’re in the hands of God.

You heeded call along with all who rallied for the cause –
no harder than Afghanistan to tackle Terror’s wars.
The chilling word so often heard’ the coalition plan
against Al-Qa’ida forces siding with the Taliban.

There is no power freed, for now the battle’s gone world wide
as all who honour peace upon each other are relied.
The ANZUS treaty we must meet to play our vital role
To help the united forces fight the terrorists’ control.

There’s now two thousand troops of ours on Afghan front alone,
whilst soldiers spread their serving tread in Middle Eastern’ zone.
It’s hidden well, the force from hell that threatens global calm –
with children used and life abused – no place is safe from harm.

I have some trace when you’re on base encamped at Kandaha –
through modern network I can get to ‘phone you from afar.
But even there the constant scare – explosives rocket borne;
an enemy you cannot see – no battle lines are drawn.

Then more I grieve when you must leave and go behind the lines
to regions strange, within the range of guns, explosives, mines.
You’re out of touch and here’s so much I can never hear –
the secret nature of your fate adds furl to my fear.

I know you fly to take supply to allied bases far,
but there’s no word on what’s incurred of where you really are.
Our lads I know have had to go on missions danger filled –
they take on task too much to ask – those gunners highly skilled.

And you my boy, do they employ your special talents there –
put downs and pick-ups rough and quick, a target in the air?
That barren land of dust and sand and rugged hill terrain –
when you’re away I beg the day I’ll hear your voice again.

Leanne came by – we didn’t cry – we laughed and shared a joke.
For Timmy’s sake we must not break – but through our eyes we spoke.
He needs his Dad; he’s just a lad, he doesn’t understand –
just misses you as you go through crusade in foreign land.

With loss of limb or eyesight dim our soldiers brave return
and everyone with girl or son for their own child must yearn.
But they would pray that on that day no hindrance meets their sight –
and I’m the same, I dread some maim might be your future plight.

And what of those with no repose from nightmare or from stress;
no wounds displayed for accolade – but crippling none the less?
Those tortured souls who’ve played their roles against such fierce attack –
with inner pain and mental strain, how can they settle back?

No solace comes to Aussie Mums whose children fight abroad –
no night’s reprieve, no fear’s relieve – no news reports ignored.
With ev’ry knock I feel the shock of heartbeat pounding loud.
Don’t swap your swag for Aussie flag to drape your coffin’s shroud.

The fervent care of all who share and want you home from war
is that unharmed you’ll come disarmed and be with us once more.
A soldier brave, the son He gave – your loss my soul would wrack.
I pray for peace, that wars may cease – that God may speed you back.

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