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A found poem for Anzac Day

LEST WE FORGET all those brave souls who selflessly stepped into danger to secure our freedom.

My father: Flight Lt J A Forde DFC
My Mother: WAAF M M B Forde

This poem was posted on the Facebook Page of Friends of 466 & 462 Squadrons by Andy Ward. I was so moved by the words of Jm Brown, I felt compelled to share – appropriately credited, of course. (Click links above, to read the original posting.)

THE ANZAC ON THE WALL

I wandered thru a country town, 'cos I had some time to spare, 
And went into an antique shop to see what was in there.
Old Bikes and pumps and Kero lamps, but hidden by it all, 
A photo of a soldier boy – an Anzac on the Wall.

'The Anzac have a name?' I asked. The old man answered 'No'.
The ones who could have told me mate, have passed on long ago. 
The old man kept on talking and, according to his tale, 
The photo was unwanted junk bought from a clearance sale.

'I asked around', the old man said, 'but no-one knows his face, 
He's been on that wall twenty years...  Deserves a better place. 
For some-one must have loved him, so it seems a shame somehow.'
I nodded in agreement and then said,  'I'll take him now.' 

My nameless digger's photo, well it was a sorry sight 
A cracked glass pane and a broken frame - I had to make it right
To prise the photo from its frame I took care just in case, 
Cause only sticky paper held the cardboard back in place. 

I peeled away the faded screed and much to my surprise,
Two letters and a telegram appeared before my eyes
The first reveals my Anzac's name, and regiment of course 
John Mathew Francis Stuart - of Australia's own Light Horse.

This letter written from the front... My interest now was keen 
This note was dated August seventh 1917 
'Dear Mum, I'm at Khalasa Springs not far from the Red Sea
They say it's in the Bible - looks like a Billabong to me.  

'My Kathy wrote I'm in her prayers...  she's still my bride to be 
I just can't wait to see you both, you're all the world to me.
And Mum you'll soon meet Bluey, last month they shipped him out 
I told him to call on you when he's up and about.' 

'That bluey is a larrikin, and we all thought it funny
He lobbed a Turkish hand grenade into the CO's dunny. 
I told you how he dragged me wounded, in from no man's land 
He stopped the bleeding, closed the wound, with only his bare hand.'

'Then he copped it at the front from some stray shrapnel blast 
It was my turn to drag him in and I thought he wouldn't last. 
He woke up in hospital, and nearly lost his mind
Cause out there on the battlefield he'd left one leg behind.' 

'He's been in a bad way Mum, he knows he'll ride no more 
Like me he loves a horse's back, he was a champ before.
So Please Mum can you take him in, he's been like my own brother 
Raised in a Queensland orphanage he' s never known a mother.' 

But Struth, I miss Australia Mum, and in my mind each day
I am a mountain cattleman on high plains far away. 
I'm mustering white-faced cattle, with no camel's hump in sight 
And I waltz my Matilda by a campfire every night

I wonder who rides Billy, I heard the pub burnt down 
I'll always love you and please say hooroo to all in town'.  
The second letter I could see, was in a lady's hand
An answer to her soldier son there in a foreign land.
 
Her copperplate was perfect, the pages neat and clean 
It bore the date, November 3rd 1917.
'T'was hard enough to lose your Dad, without you at the war 
I'd hoped you would be home by now - each day I miss you more'
 
'Your Kathy calls around a lot since you have been away
To share with me her hopes and dreams about your wedding day. 
And Bluey has arrived - and what a godsend he has been 
We talked and laughed for days about the things you've done and seen'

'He really is a comfort, and works hard around the farm, 
I read the same hope in his eyes that you won't come to harm. 
McConnell's kids rode Billy, but suddenly that changed.
We had a violent lightning storm, and it was really strange.'
 
'Last Wednesday, just on midnight, not a single cloud in sight, 
It raged for several minutes, it gave us all a fright.
It really spooked your Billy - and he screamed and bucked and reared 
And then he rushed the sliprail fence, which by a foot he cleared'
 
'They brought him back next afternoon, but something's changed I fear
It's like the day you brought him home, for no one can get near. 
Remember when you caught him with his black and flowing mane? 
Now Horse breakers fear the beast that only you can tame,'

'That's why we need you home son' - then the flow of ink went dry- 
This letter was unfinished, and I couldn't work out why. 
Until I started reading, the letter number three
A yellow telegram delivered news of tragedy,

Her son killed in action - oh - what pain that must have been 
The same date as her letter - 3rd November 1917 
This letter which was never sent, became then one of three
She sealed behind the photo's face - the face she longed to see.
 
And John's home town's old timers - children when he went to war 
Would say no greater cattleman had left the town before.
They knew his widowed mother well - and with respect did tell 
How when she lost her only boy she lost her mind as well.
 
She could not face the awful truth, to strangers she would speak
'My Johnny's at the war you know, he's coming home next week.' 
They all remembered Bluey he stayed on to the end. 
A younger man with wooden leg became her closest friend.

And he would go and find her when she wandered old and weak 
And always softly say 'yes dear - John will be home next week.' 
Then when she died Bluey moved on, to Queensland some did say.
I tried to find out where he went, but don't know to this day.

And Kathy never wed - a lonely spinster some found odd. 
She wouldn't set foot in a church - she'd turned her back on God.
John's mother left no Will I learned on my detective trail. 
This explains my photo's journey, of that clearance sale.

So I continued digging, cause I wanted to know more.
I found John's name with thousands, in the records of the war. 
His last ride proved his courage - a ride you will acclaim 
The Light Horse Charge at Beersheba of everlasting fame.

That last day in October, back in 1917 
At 4pm our brave boys fell - that sad fact I did glean.
That's when John's life was sacrificed, the record's crystal clear
But 4pm in Beersheba is midnight over here......  

So as John's gallant spirit rose to cross the great divide, 
Were lightning bolts back home, a signal from the other side?
Is that why Billy bolted and went racing as in pain? 
Because he'd never feel his master on his back again? 

Was it coincidental? same time - same day - same date?
Some proof of numerology, or just a quirk of fate?
I think it's more than that you know, as I've heard wiser men, 
Acknowledge there are many things that go beyond our ken

Where craggy peaks guard secrets 'neath dark skies torn asunder, 
Where hoof-beats are companions to the rolling waves of thunder 
Where lightning cracks like 303's and ricochets again
Where howling moaning gusts of wind sound just like dying men. 

Some Mountain cattlemen have sworn on lonely alpine track, 
They've glimpsed a huge black stallion - Light Horseman on his back.
Yes Sceptics say, it's swirling clouds just forming apparitions 
Oh no, my friend you can't dismiss all this as superstition.  

The  desert of Beersheba - or windswept Aussie range,
John Stuart rides on forever there - Now I don't find that strange.  
Now some gaze upon this photo, and they often question me  
And I tell them a small white lie, and say he's family.

'You must be proud of him.' they say - I tell them, one and all, 
That's why he takes - the pride of place - my Anzac on the Wall.

By Jm Brown

#LestWeForget #FoundPoemAnzacDay #POET:JmBrown #ANZACDay #FriendsOf466&4362Squadrons #AndyWard

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Submarine down…

An Indonesian submarine is lost in the depths off the shores of the holiday island of Bali and I am thinking about the families of the 23 crew, waiting for good news.

A KRI Nanggala-402 submarine performs an exercise in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, in 2014

I am also reminded about the Kursk drama in 2000 followed by Columbia’s broken tile a couple of years later and a poem I wrote in 2005.

Live Here On Sky
                                    6th August 2005
  
A capsule of lighted hope lay in the deep black depths,
seven Russian submariners trapped on the Pacific floor. 
Although “satisfactory” in their red striped white sub, 
freeze as only hours of oxygen remain. Kursk memories 
 
flood Moscow, but she pleads straight away for US 
and UK Super Scorpios who help raise the vessel to rescue
depth – averting another disaster.  But no one can help 
the Discovery’s seven in their cocoon of light circling 
 
our world in un-ending space. They wait in zero gravity, 
remove foam chips, listen to Beatles and pray.  The world held 
a collective breath before touchdown as NASA remembered 
the awesome, fiery power of Columbia’s broken tile.
 
Frances Macaulay Forde © 2005
1st Published Poets Union Anthology Sept 2006

#FrancesMacaulayForde #POEM:LiveHereOnSky  #BaliSubmarine  #KurskDisaster  #ColumbiaTile  #FamiliesWait



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Congratulations on ‘The Jam Queens’ – I look forward to reading your book as soon as I can Josephine. Signing up because I have missed a lot of your news – so many books to catch up on now… I am in awe!

#BOOK:TheJamQueens #AUTHOR:JosephineMoon #LatestBOOKRelease

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Louise Allan’s blogpost

I loved ‘The Sisters’ Song’ by Louise Allan and follow her blog. After reading this entry, I am compelled to reserve my copy of Irma’s book.

Irma Gold: The Ideas Tree

by Louise Allan | Mar 22, 2021 | WRITERS IN THE ATTIC | 17 comments

I have a little story about this post: About three years ago, I asked Irma if she’d like to write a post for the attic. She said words to the effect of: ‘I’d love to, but would you mind waiting until my novel is published?’

It’s been a long time but I’m thrilled to share Irma’s post today, along with the news that her novel, The Breaking, is now published (Midnight Sun 2021) and earning rave reviews.

So read on to learn about how Irma’s love affair with elephants turned into a book. (CONTINUE READING)

To purchase the book:

#LouiseAllan #BOOK:TheSistersSong #IrmaGold #BOOK:TheBreaking #ThaiElephants #ElephantRescue #Elephants

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Pigs might fly…

Some time ago, a poetic friend and I met for lunch at a local garden center café and were discussing dreams.  As we left, these colorful sculptures captured my poetic sense of humor. The metaphor was too good to waste so we challenged each other… Here’s my result. 

Pigs might fly…

Who says they can’t?
Is there an omniscient
oinker monitor float-
ing in the same tree?

Who has the right
to tell watchers
who dream
the impossible
that pigs might…?

In deepest despair
we need hope,
need dreams
to fall back on.
A competitive spirit…
Who says we can’t?

I need to soar
above my world
sometimes, believe
there’s something
sizzling just
around the corner.

If I could only see ~
take a butchers
into the future
and grab
a curly tail…

Frances Macaulay Forde © 2012

#POEM:PigsMightFly #FrancesMacaulayForde #Poetry #CoffeeCatchUp #Dreaming

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Time this little anecdote had another airing…

Perth Words... exploring possibilities.

At lunch with a friend last week,  someone I hadn’t seen for many years stuck her head around the corner; Joan’s sister.  She looked so genuinely surprised and pleased to see me I was quite taken aback!

We’d never particularly been friends but I had been very close to her sister, until we lost touch nearly 20 years ago.

After a hug I was told exactly how Joan had passed away within a couple of years of our losing touch, correcting my long-held and erroneous belief that she was so depressed she’s taken her own life.

The truth was not exactly as I had suspected but she definitely suffered with a broken heart; such a sad and lonely ending for someone who gave so much to others.

Standing in front of her still-grieving sister, I felt very guilty for not making more of an effort to see her, before her life…

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POEM: The Lace of Our Lives

 The Lace of Our Lives
  
 Silver slivers wind their way 
 memory-wire threaded 
 through life’s everyday
 by words loved-ones said.
 Images beaded round and whole
 capture a moment so long ago
  
 The lace of our lives sewn
 many-coloured silken thread
 spun by loves we’ve known
 never cut by distance or death.
 Feelings remembered when old
 as years finally take their grim toll
  
 A rich tapestry wrapped around the heart
 woven by a gentle finger-touch at the start
  
 Frances Macaulay Forde © 2021 
#POEM:LaceOfOurLives  #FrancesMacaulayForde  #Poetry  #Memories  

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Coming home… 2003

This shows what a wonderful part of the world I am lucky to live in… I have now enlarged the photos so you can see more detail.  In the 9th photo, the train line I most often use to get into the city, runs North and South through the middle of our freeway.  We drive on the left here, so the train line is on the right but the other side of the freeway is not visible.

Perth Words... exploring possibilities.

When I first returned to Perth in Early December 2003 after living in Ireland for 14 months, the Jacaranda outside my kitchen window was in full bloom!

Hubby and I took a ride into the city via the Sunset Coast Tourist Drive, along the coast from just north of my suburb to Fremantle, back along the Swan River (home to our black swans) and into Perth City.

031123MyJacaranda (4) My Jacaranda 031206DriveCoastCityOrig (2) Views on our 5 min drive from our house, along Ocean Reef Road,  to the sea. 031206DriveCoastCityOrig (6) West Coast drive and our many white beaches… 031206DriveCoastCityOrig (15) Whitfords Avenue has multi-million dollar beach side homes on it and a huge shopping centre. About 7 mins drive from my house. West Coast Highway part of the Sunset Coast Tourist Drive to Fremantle and South. 031206DriveCoastCityOrig (54) Swan River meets Leach Highway from Fremantle and Kwinana Freeway to the city skyscrapers in the distance. 031206DriveCoastCityOrig (60) Now we’re on the Kwinana Freeway, almost into Perth…

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How a tunnel became a mountain…

Sharon Ojala of ‘Where the Gnomes Live’ is my crafting idol. She inspires me and thousands of others everyday – for free! Her simple construction method is cardboard boxes, Al-foil, paper kitchen towels and PVA glue, paint etc. Her tutorials are so easy to follow too.

The first project I tried was a gnome home which my little granddaughter absolutely loved.

On her birthday I was inspired by Sharon again for her Halloween party.

And yesterday I delivered my latest effort – a tunnel which grew into a mountain complete with cave and waterfall for my 5 year old grandson.

Now the oldest grandchild has ordered a Christmas Village… So thank you Sharon, from the bottom of my heart. My grandchildren are all very happy because of you.

#SharonOjala #WhereTheGnomesLive #MyCraftingIdol #Halloween

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New from Red Room Poetry

From cloud forests to flood, water connects us in every sense

“Red Room Poetry’s Writing Water: Rain, River, Reef project is commissioning celebrated poets and inviting public submissions that look below the surface and reimagine our essential relationships with water. From the slow-moving waters of TarraWarra in Victoria to the extinction of corals and conversations with wetlands in Western Australia, poems are provocations to honour, remember and interrogate our responsibilities with water in a time of environmental change.”  READ MORE

#RedRoomPoetry #NewChapbook #WritingWater #Poetry

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Stephen Page

Author: The Salty River Bleeds, The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. Alum: Palomar College, Columbia University, Bennington College. Follow on twitter @SmpageSteve on Instagram @smpagemoria on Facebook @steven.page.1481

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