A poem for Anzac Day*

  They do not know

D R Dymock

(A poem triggered by a comment from my late mother that people who weren’t there didn’t understand what it was like to live through WWII)

They do not know,

those who came after,

how the bugle call sounded

and the men went away;

when ration cards sold

in back streets of the city

and meat cost as much

as a decent week’s pay.

They do not know,

those with buds in their ears,

how we listened to rumours

of invasion to come;

how we lived with anxiety,

with gossip and blackouts,

and ran for the shelters

but refused to succumb.

They do not know,

those folk on high salaries,

how we once had sweet fun

on minimal pay

in the arms of young soldiers

at dances and parties

knowing the foe

was just islands away.

They do not know,

the punters and brokers,

how we bet on the future

with our wounded and dead;

not knowing if lovers

would ever come back,

not knowing if there were

more dark days ahead.

They do not know,

those planning grand houses,

that there was a time

we had hopes and dreams too;

but our visions were clouded

by tears for the dying;

the best we could pray was

we’d all see it through.

They do not know,

those who came after,

of that unreal existence

when nothing was sure,

or why we still yearn

for missed fun and laughter:

those who grew up

when the world was at war.

Copyright Darryl Dymock 2021

*Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”. It is observed on 25 April each year, the anniversary of the landing of Australian, New Zealand and British troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.

https://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac-day/traditions

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