(7 September 1876 - 22 June 1938 / Auburn, South Australia)

An Old Man Muses

Can it be I - this Hindenburg, deferring
To demagogues, catch phrases, lucky charms
And all this mummery about me stirring?
Can it be I, lord of high feats of arms,
Smiling complancence on a rabble's blunders,
Counting a mountebank amongst my peers
I, who commanded with the voice of thunders?
Ah, what a role betrays me with the years!

Can it be I - condoning, cavallering
This sorry paint-and-tinsel paladin.
This braggart upstart, raging, racketeering
Like some cheap western gangster 'muscling in,'
Apeing the arts in which I loomed a master:
Acting with arms as children play with toys:
Mouthing fierce phrases, pregannt with disaster,
To lure brief loyalty from brain-sick boys?

Can it be I who saw the vision splendid
Shaping before these ageing eyes of mine,
When half a world, before my day had eneded,
Hurtled its might against my stubborn Line?
The Line of Hindenburg! the natons raging
Before an avatar who reached the sky! ...
And now? - A hapless figurehead, fast ageing,
The mighty Hindenburg! Can this be I?

Strange trick of Fate ... And yet, sometimes I wonder,
While factions rage and puny tyrants bray,
If victory might yet be snatched for blunder
Till gloriously dawned against The Day!
If - To what end? Youth seeks in other fashion
It's destiny. 'Tis world-worn age that drools
Of glories gone ... Enough to veil compassion
With weary tolerance. Poor dupes! Poor fools!

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