Soldier, long gone

Recruitment poster used during the Australian wars - on display at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Recruitment poster used during the Australian wars – on display at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra

I look at you
once bright as dew
now frayed, tearing at the seams
a picture unlike any other it seems
beetle eyes gleaming through the glass
a spectacle for the students in my class
how well your brows curve crookedly
masking shadows of scheming wickedly
though just another memory to many
for your thoughts I’d offer more’n a penny
how you could while away your life
warring others’ battles without a strife
a proud son that faced his mother tall
and answered the motherland’s call

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All lined up to go

as youth army in battle

puppets of the rich

Saving skins

As weak-kneed sailors

them commandos one by one

abandoning ship

Honour

Pride of the nation

a pedigree of soldiers

presented with death

Service

Though face be the index of the mind, she’d trained never to betray herself—mind or emotion.

Practising every day for 12 years, she altered 25 years’ habits. No one else had achieved that feat, and she—as deserved to—prided herself as the most successful student.

The rest of her batchmates remained while she advanced. Every step of the away, she grew more confident and assertive. Taking on responsibilities she’d never dreamt of before, Lisa became a model for the academy.

Years after serving in the frontline, she looked back one day. With none to call hers, the soldier retired friendless.