Lest We Forget

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Row upon row, the crosses stand,
An army on parade,
Tended now by gentler hand
‘Neath verdant palisade.

Like silent sentinels, the trees
Stand guard here day and night
Though now only the bees
And vengeful magpies keep the fight.

No Sergeant-Major’s voice is heard,
No bugle call to battle.
The sound of leaves, by breezes stirred,
The call of distant cattle.

Baptised by mud and blood and sweat,
They heard their country’s call.
Waved off by crowds who then forget
And never see them fall.

From battle’s fertile fields, they’re borne
With honour to this place.
That we’ve not learned their lesson
Means yet more will meet their fate.

Though the lucky ones return,
It’s clear they’re never quite the same.
They, too, have paid a heavy price
Despite the victory claim.

Stephen Tomkins
3 April 2017
Sydney

Photo credit:
journalstar.com

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Adrift (On The Sea of Regret)

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My stomach is full though I’ve not eaten yet;
I’ve just launched myself on the Sea of Regret.
I’m sickened and saddened and sorry to boot:
There’s no one to blame for this dark attribute.
And though I’m not sure how I followed this path,
I’m floating alone on this flimsy old raft.
The sea is unfriendly, the night is pitch black,
I really don’t know if I’ll find my way back.

Yet off in the distance, I glimpse a dim light –
It’s just what I need in my desperate plight.
For just when I felt like I might pull the plug,
I find myself wrapped in a comforting hug.
I suddenly find myself back on the shore,
The sea disappears with one last mighty roar.
I’m so undeserving of someone like you
But if your love sustains me, I might just pull through.

Stephen Tomkins
17 February 2016
Sydney

Photo credit:
www.smh.com.au