Monday, 23 April 2012

Lest we forget

It is ANZAC day (Australia and New Zealand Army Corp) tomorrow, the 25th of April.  A day that is commemorated in Australia and New Zealand every year to remember those who died fighting for their country and to honour those brave servicemen and women who made it home again. 

Wars are such crazy and evil things and for many of us today, they are not a part of our daily reality, aside from the horrors that we witness on the news each night - horrors taking place far from our sweet, safe homes. 

My blog tends to be such a whimsical, girly thing - a little treat for me in my frantic, busy life.  But I wanted to pause for a moment and just write something here, just to remember...just to say I really am thankful for the sacrifices other people made.

I came across this poem by Australian Jeff Cook and thought I would share it here - it sums up things so well dont you think?

Grandpa, What Did You Do In The War?

I’d been mowing the lawn and pulling some weeds, and slipped inside for a breather
I picked up the paper and turned on the news, not paying attention to either
When my grandson came in with a look on his face and a question that hit me full bore
An innocent question, no intention to hurt, “Grandpa, what did you do in the war”?

My skin went all creepy, I had sweat on my brow, my mind shot back fifty years
To bullets that thudded and whined all around, to terror, to nightmares, to tears
I was crawling through mud, I was shooting at men, tried to kill them before they killed me
Men who had wives and children at home, just like mine, just like my family.

“What did you do in the war?” he had asked, a question not meant to cause pain
But it brought back the horrors I’d left far behind in a deep dark recess of my brain
I remembered the bombs being dropped from the planes, the explosions, the screams, and the loss
Of a friend - or an enemy - but a life just the same, replaced by a small wooden cross.

The visions attacked me of tramping through jungles, hot and stinking, with leeches and flies
Of orders that seemed to make no sense at all - of distrust, of suspicions, of lies
I lived once again all those terrible storms, the dysentery, fever, the snakes,
The blisters that lived with me month after month, all those blunders, and costly mistakes.

But how could I tell the boy all about that, ’Twould be better if he didn’t know
It’s a part of my life that I don’t talk about from a good half a century ago
So I gulped, took a breath and tried to sound calm, and bid him to sit at my side
Then opened my mouth to say a few words, but the tears welled up and I cried.

He cuddled to me with a look of concern, and I mumbled of feeling unwell
Then took hold of myself, blew hard on my nose, while I thought of some tales I could tell
“What did I do in the war,” I began, then the stories began tumbling out
And they flowed with such ease I felt better again, and got over my pain and my doubt.

I told him of how I had made many friends, how I’d trained and had gone overseas
Made a joke of how seasick I’d been on the way, almost dirtied myself when I’d sneezed
I told of the joy of the letters from home, of the hand-knitted socks and the cake
That I got for my birthday but three weeks too late ’cause it went somewhere else by mistake.

We talked about mateship and what it had meant to trust someone else with your life
And of when I came home to my family again, to my kids, Mum and Dad, and my wife
Of the crowd on the wharf, the bands, and the pomp, and the pride I felt in the parade
But I’m not ashamed that I hood-winked the boy, a decision I’m glad that I made.

He can grow up without seeing fear in my eyes, or know of the terror I knew
For he’d not understand - and neither he should - all those memories that hit me anew
But maybe some day when he’s older than now, I will tell him what war did to me
But with luck he won’t ask me ever again, about wars that never should be.

Jeff Cook

Jeff Cook has written this poem as a tribute to the fallen and the returned. For many years Jeff has recited at least one of his poems at the ANZAC Day Commemoration Service at his home town of Minlaton in South Australia.  

Take care peeps - hug the ones you love and have a peaceful and happy day.  Becks xxx


  1. What a lovely poem - it has brought tears to my eyes. War is such a pointless exercise. We are all the same really. We all have fears and hopes and people we love. We should reach out to each other not fight and kill. Lily. xxx

  2. Hi Becks - just to let you know I have awarded you the Sunshine Award

    1. OMG you are such a sweetie! Thank you - that has really made me smile today :-) xxx

  3. Hiya Becks! I've just seen above that you've already been awarded the Sunshine Award :), and I've just given it to you as well! :) lol, just goes to show how lovely blog is!! If you pop over to my blog when have you a minute you will see it xx

    1. Hi Marina - oh thank you so much for the sunshine award - sooo nice!!! I have the flu and feel like I've been hit by a truck, ha ha, so these lovely notes are really helping to keep me smiling. You are a treasure hon. Becks xxx

  4. Hi Rebecca,
    It's lovely to find your blog, and thanks for visiting mine. One of these days I'm going to organise a get together for Wellington bloggers who garden -- I'm sure we've all got seeds and clippings to swap. I'm looking up at my garden again now and I can see that the seedlings I planted yesterday have survived their first night outside. Very happy about that.

    1. Yay - so glad you stopped by! Yes, I agree about the Wellington bloggers, but life is so hectic so its great that we can at least have a peek at each others blogs. Your is lovely - it always inspires me. I am really behind on my winter clean up/planting, but am looking forward to getting it done next weekend. Enjoy the sun today hon (and the gale force wind!). Becks xxx