War related

An Old Vets Christmas

He shuffles down a quiet darkened street,
alone, he always dreads this time of year,
cause locals, he just cannot bear to meet.
He eats collected scraps and drinks warm beer.

Now as the rain begins to softly fall
he crawls beneath a long deserted shop,
and hears the singing from the nearby hall
while all the time, he wishes, they would stop.

A flash sends goose bumps covering his skin
the sky now rumbles with a long deep tone,
then, brings back horrors hidden deep within,
again, he fronts the enemy alone.

Now mortars fall as with each lightning blast
he’s foetal in his cardboard box and prays,
and shaking as his heart is pounding fast,
arms wrapped around his head, he rocks and sways

He flinches and he moans with every burst,
relives the scenes held deep within his brain,
and wishes that the visions would disperse,
the sight of blown up bodies, still remain.

The rain’s like thunder on this roof of tin,
like non stop gunfire in a jungle dense.
He’s once again a soldier in the din,
where many boys, lost all their innocence.

The ‘war’ is easing as the thunder dies,
he now releases clasping hands from ears,
remembers politicians and their lies
and how so many died throughout those years.

He hears again the Christmas Carols clear,
his shaking starts now slowly to decrease,
while in the darkness, sheds a lonely tear,
and knows that only death can bring release.

He’ll fight no more this demon battle ground
as finally succumbed he starts to doze.
In time his lifeless body will be found.
This old mans story, scribes can now expose.

David J Delaney
21/12/2009 ©

Campfire Thoughts             

Sitting by the campfire glow                   
do you drift in silent thought                 
think of diggers young and brave           
and countries where they fought          

Resting in their compound safe              
did they stare at lucent flame                  
then imagine if they could                       
they were back home again                     

Fighting Boers in Africa                             
on the hills or open plains                          
did they circle late night fires                   
and miss their home town rains                  

Middle eastern deserts bare                   
under mesmerising stars,                      
did they stand around a fire                    
and talk of eastern bars                             

Near the battle fields of France               
where so many gave their lives,               
did they sit by warming fire                       
share photos of their wives                        

Once again in world war two                     
resting on Kokoda’s track,                       
did our boys group round a fire                  
and think they’d not come back                 

Inside deathly prison camps                  
endless cruelty brave men bore              
did the weak surround a fire                   
dream of Australia’s shore                         

Hillsides bare, now in Korea                     
called the forgotten war                      
did our diggers make a fire                         
pray for their full withdraw                          

Troops were called up-on again                
now Vietnam’s jungle dense                    
did they drink by campfire’s glow             
say, “this does not make sense”                     

Serving now on foreign shores                 
tropic nights or winter sun                       
do they sit by campfire warm                     
glad when their tour is done                         

Next time you’re by campfire glow           
drifting into silent thought                     
think of diggers young or old                     
remember why they fought                      

David J Delaney
14/07/2009     ©

 

Changi Larrikins

They huddle in the bush, like thieves who strike then flee the fight          
and know if they are caught, they’d not survive another night.               
Just like a well drilled team, complete their mission in quick time,            
then join the other prisoners in guarded wire confine.                        

For fuel is gold and buys supplies that’s needed by the men                      
while all the while they risk of being bashed there once again.                  
But rendezvous they do, Chinese and local tribes pay well,                    
where, only for a moment they’d forget about this hell.                             

Though, death and cruelty for all those captured was abound                  
and any misdemeanour, would bring bashings all around,                     
or working on that rail line where so many aussie’s died,                           
they kept their sense of humour and their noted aussie pride.                  

Word filtered through the compound that the commandants flash car,     
ran dry of fuel when he approached, the freshly laid black tar.                   
The only give away, around this god forsaken place,                               
a certain group of aussie’s — with huge grins upon their face.                     

David J Delaney
19/02/2010   ©
Based on a true story as told by my step father-in-law, Norm Hutley,
who spent 3.5 years in Changi prison camp during world war 2.

 

Medically Unfit

You’ve done your country proud,                            
and, we know how you fought the fight,                 
deserving of all accolades,                                    
for you have earned this right.                             

And knowing many died,                                    
we honour them each ANZAC day.                      
For freedoms we all now enjoy,                            
a debt we can’t repay.                                          

So here’s a story now,                                         
of hopefuls who were all declined.                 
A certain group of people, who                              
have feelings they’ve confined.                                

See, I know how they felt                                   
at the recruiting house so cold,                           
when standing naked in that group                     
and doing as you’re told.                                    

All orders are obeyed,                                         
I want to serve my country proud,                      
and, side by side with all my mates,                   
as soon as I’m allowed.                                  

Excitement, how it builds                                  
as one by one our names are called,                  
until it was my time to go,                                 
now feeling all enthralled.                                 

I’m in the doctors room,                                    
devoid of any city views,                                   
he looks me sternly in the eyes,                         
then says he has bad news.                                

All joy, drains from my face,                                  
now devastation’s infinite,                                     
there stamped on my assessment form —
Medically unfit.

Was hard to tell my mates,                                     
I could not join them in the fight,                          
and how my disappointment showed,                   
when they said ‘it’s not right’.                              

I’m fit as any man
but, a small problem through the years                
left over from my childhood days —                   
my troubled inner ears.                                        

The old vets where I worked                               
all said, that they had to admit,                            
hard to believe that I was classed,
Medically unfit.                                                    

I often felt ashamed,                                            
at times was physically sick.                               
Deprived to serve my country proud,                 
to go and do my bit.                                            

But that was in the past,                                      
another place, another time,                                
now honouring all veterans                                 
with tributes in my rhyme.                                  

Though one thing always haunts,                       
a vision that will never quit,                                
the bold red stamp upon my form —                  

Medically unfit

David J Delaney
09/07/2010    ©

Still they fight the fight

They walk the shifting sand like those who went before,
now in that ancient land still fighting in a war.
They once again defend, the young answer the call,
joined by their Kiwi friends, they’re ANZAC’s proud and tall.
While now the Hum-vee’s rule where once were camel trains,
and desert life is cruel, support we must sustain.

            ———

They fly the open skies like those who went before,
though fear is in their eyes, they hope to end this war.
Insurgents hidden well, with missiles in their hands.
At times it must be hell to fly those hostile lands.
Now in their super jets, not like those planes of old.
I hope no one forgets, the sacrifices told.

            ———

They sail the oceans wide like those who went before,
with allies by their side, protecting ports and shores.
They’re boarding suspect ships that could have contraband,
then, guiding battleships, support those on the land.
They glide on ‘Omans’ waves, or ghosts in submarines
and, many lives they save, on daily scout routines.

           ———

The young now fight the fight, like those so long ago.
Believing this is right to beat the hidden foe.
When home they all return and nightmares are now told,
their visions will confirm, they’ll need someone to hold.
So with each morning light, respect for ever more,
for they’ve all earned this right — like those who went before.

David J Delaney
15/04/2010   ©

New Generation Veterans                          

We honour our old veterans, we honour them with pride
and read of all the horrors they have carried deep inside.
We know they served in Asia or New Guinea’s highland rains,
Vietnam or in Africa where many men were slain.

We know that fateful landing on Gallipoli’s dark shore,
wherever Aussies fought, we know there are so many more,
but now a new young generation needs our help as well,
they too have been to war and suffer with their private hell.

Though losses are not classed as great, their fears are just the same
those electronic hidden bombs, still injure, kill or maim.
They fight against an enemy they find so hard to see
who mingle in the market place, then cause much tragedy.

Insurgents in Afghanistan hide in the rough terrain
or roaming in Iraq, where, wearing robes they look the same.
These suicide stealth bombers, don’t care who they hurt or kill,
then, with their own beliefs, they try to break our forces will.

Our fighting Aussie spirit shows on any foreign land,
they’re in the skies, they’re on the sea, or on the desert sand.
Now many are returning with the horrors they still see
and living with their nightmares, suffering bureaucracy.

I know on ANZAC day, we all remember with a tear,
but all vets young or old, they need our help throughout the year,
support and listen to their stories, when they do get told,
lets honour our new veterans, just like we do our old. 

David J Delaney
10/02/2010     ©

A huge thank you goes to a young lady named Talitha kalago, for without the discussion with her about this issue, my poem would probably not have been written.

The War at Home

Upon her shoulder she can feel his touch,
the way he did; now seems so long ago,
while tears roll down her sad and weary face,
she watches new young soldiers as they go.

The waving flags they make her reminisce,
when she was in the noisy joyous crowd,
remembering the time when she joined in,
to farewell her brave man and feeling proud.

She said goodbye in nineteen forty one,
to her loved soul mate and new husband Bill.
As childhood sweethearts their love grew and grew.
They married, in their church up on the hill.

While once again she views the soldiers march,
now thoughts go back to nineteen sixty four,
when, like her long departed Bill, their son
was sent to fight in Vietnam’s cold war.

Her tears still flow, though now it’s twenty ten,
today these men are off to fight the fight,
she’s sad, for some will die on foreign soil,
and leave young widows crying in the night.

She knows that war is hell on the home front
just ask the loved ones and you’ll find it true,
or children growing up without their dad
surviving on some paltry revenue.

She looks out through the window once again,
the soldiers and the crowd are almost gone,
and thinks about the war that’s fought at home;
‘pick up the broken pieces and move on’.

Throughout the generations and today,
we honour those who fight, and those who fought,
and how their sacrifices pave the way,
so mateship and our freedoms can be taught.

You see, there is another sacrifice,
it’s one that through the years has caused much strife,
for rarely is it read in any book,
the pain that’s felt by lovers or a wife.

Upon her shoulder she can feel his touch,
though this time she is feeling so alone,
for from this window she must now return
to her own room, in this old nursing home.
David J Delaney
19/08/2010   ©

 

Capt. Reg. Saunders (Aboriginal hero)

The nineteen twenty’s saw his birth,               
out in Victoria’s wild west,                             
raised by his loving grandmother,                  
he passed with ease his manhood test.              

From the Gunditjmara tribe,
upon the Framlingham reserves.
I’ll try to honour this great man,
and in a way he so deserves.

While at the sawmill working hard,
continued yearnings grew within,
to fight for south Americans,
for him they always felt like kin.

Instead this proud Australian lad,
who’s now, nineteen years old at least,
signs up, for the worlds second war,
then shipped out to the middle east.

Surviving German aircraft strikes,
he thinks he’s granted a release.
Sent to the European fight,
the conflict being fought in Greece.

Now this disastrous doomed campaign
for many allies now on Crete,
orders were given to retreat
while facing imminent defeat.

This hero Aboriginal,
who’s strength, with family regains,
again he joins battalion mates,
now fighting in New Guinea’s rains.

Received promotions from the ranks,
then leads his men as sergeants do,
respected by them all because,
he was not false, but just true blue.

Within the final months of war,
now leader of his own platoon,
He misses family and home,
and peaceful nights beneath the moon.

Heard how his brother won’t return,
they’ll never share a fire at night.
He lies now in a jungle grave,
killed in Kokoda’s deadly fight.

Home working as a shipping clerk
now finds it hard to settle down,
he then works as a labourer
at building sites around the town.

When the Korean war began
he quickly signed up once again,
farewelled his children and his wife
hopes one day soon to be with them.

Returns a Captain of his men
the 3rd battalion R.A.R.
And won the hearts of those with him,
best leader they all had by far.

He fought the battle of Kapyong,
recorded by historians,
outnumbered drove the Chinese back,
those Aussies and Canadians.

once, he was interviewed and asked,
about Australia’s own and bred
indigenous battalion group,
so, now I quote what he then said.

——————————————————-

“The Americans had negro officers,
but they all mostly handled negro troops.
I’m dead against the idea,
it would mean demarcation and a separateness.
They would be treated as something apart,
that would be bad and break my heart”

——————————————————–

Resigned in nineteen fifty four
worked in the logging industry,
he then moved onto Sydney’s shore
this famous Aborigine.

I know I tribute just one man
when many ‘aussie’s’ gave their life,
although they’re Aboriginals
they were as one through all the strife.

I sometimes sit in disbelief
why Aussie’s don’t know more of Reg.
And how, himself made history
reciting his first soldier’s pledge.

When honouring our Aussie greats,
include within their company,
these men who walked their same footsteps
our true blue Aborigine.

David J Delaney
26/05/2010     ©

 

A Father’s loss

How you’ve grown my son
Respected by our clan
Let me shake your hand
How you’ve grown.

How you’re standing tall my son
Brass buttons shining bright
Leaving soon to join the fight
How you’re standing tall.

How you march so fine my son
Rifle on your shoulder
Going where the weather’s colder
How you march so fine.

How you stood waving my son
As the ship left the quay
Travelling across the open sea
How you stood waving.

How you sent letters my son
The stench of death abound
On that bloody battleground
How you sent letters.

Now you’ll never return my son
Forever to remain over there
Entombed under French mud somewhere
Now you’ll never return.

David J Delaney
28/11/2008    ©

Inspired by the recent discovery of the Aussie Diggers mass graves on the former battle fields of France.

One response to “War related

  1. A fabulous tribute. Let it not be forgotten how many brave boys came from all over the Empire to fight and die in the bloody fields of France, a long way from home.

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