The Visitors

by | Jan 1, 2006 | Poetry | 0 comments

We ventured across the sea, young and old, in search of a memory, a story
From the sunny shores that had never known war, to the timeless fields of France where once the blood of the new generation bloomed as brightly as the poppies
The last Anzac was soon to die – would that be the end of the legend?

Still they came, a murmuring sea of familiar accents, yet sounding strange in a foreign land
The green hills, so different from the sunburnt bush, played host to the visitors, both those who came to remember, and those who could not be seen
What blasphemy to cover their yet hidden bones with a concrete memorial to progress and technology
Instead of the countless memorials of stone, emblazoned with names and places in a roll-call of honour

It was spring, and yet shivering families huddled from the chill of the wind
Had it been even colder in the winter trenches, alone and afraid?
The scene was pastoral, peaceful, but the ghosts were strong – a bramble-covered ditch, a copse of trees rending the skyline – who knew what secrets they still might hide?
Memories in the markers left by man – the dated signs marking the ebb and flow of the Front line zigzagging their way across the hills, echoing the surges of victory or defeat and man fought fellow man for a hill, a field, a few miles of mud

And yet, hope rose into the air with the strains of the anthems, as the Tricolour and the Southern Cross mingled in a sea of red, white and blue. Two nations stood together in peace, as once they had stood together in war.

“Do not forget Australia” reads the message on the school wall, a reminder of the past, and a symbol of the future

Although their bodies are no more, their spirit lives on

The legend cannot die


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