Two war poems, one from a disabled veteran, the other from a former diplomat

We don’t often do poetry on Honest History but these two poems deserve a run. The first is from Frank Jock O’Neill, of Disabled Veterans of Australia Network. (Press article about the Network and its mission to reduce suicide rates among veterans.)

Australia’s ANZAC Tourists 2018

To Flanders fields the pollies go

In first class seats, not row on row

Lesser ones in business class; and in the sky

Staff and bureaucrats still singing bravely fly

Not heard by ANZAC dead below.

 

We are the politique; short Canberra days ago

We toiled, felt cold, saw summer fade

Loved and are loved; now we gladly stroll

On Parisian boulevards.

 

We make no quarrel with public funds

For grand plans, from needing veterans, we do take

The purse be ours to allocate as we avail, for

In contempt we break that faith, with you who die

We care not if you sleep or weep, for wounded still alive

To Flanders fields we pollies go.

FJ O’Neill

 

For those who do not know the original ‘In Flanders Fields’, by Canadian John McCrae, it is below, following this note about a memorial service in Fremantle soon:

***

Disabled Veterans of Australia Network supports ‘Veterans Suicide Memorial Day’ respecting our nations ‘Fallen by Suicide’

Veterans Suicide Memorial Service of reflection and healing

 St John’s Anglican Church.

24 Adelaide Street, Fremantle, WA

Sunday, 3rd June, 6 pm

 All welcome: Defence Members, Veterans and Public

***

In Flanders fields

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

(The Australian War Memorial has organised a massive poppy knit.)

The other poem comes from former diplomat, Alison Broinowski, who is also Honest History’s vice president and the vice president of Australians for War Powers Reform.

Never again: Anzac Day 2018

(Copyright Alison Broinowski 2018)

 

No more wars of choice

Started by the Yanks

No more toys for boys

Paid by us – no thanks.

 

Never again they said

Never again

Never is when?

 

What’s the point of fights

With people we don’t hate?

Law and human rights

Trashed by our US mate.

 

Selling arms abroad

Just to make some dough

Yet we can’t afford

Health and schools – oh no!

 

No more Captain’s picks

Sending troops to war

Australians are not hicks

We know what votes are for.

 

No more porky pies

Making endless war

Australians won’t cop lies

We’ll show what votes are for.

 

Never again they said

Never again

Never is when?

13 May 2018

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