The Long Gone Smiling Faces
Poem By Terry Dawson
Schoolboys we'd been the year before
But now we bashed the square
And marched about in double time;
With left rights, filled the air.
Ran miles and miles in heavy gear
Our rifles at high port,
Exhausted in our misery...
Was this how war was fought?
Fast through the grass we leopard crawled
No more where we had been.
No movement, sound, no silhouettes
We saw, we were not seen.
And on the range we glowed with pride
Who had the tightest group.
We started as a rabble band
We end a fighting troop!
Too young to die we surely were,
We young men of the war
We knew the bush, it's sounds and signs,
Through all the seasons, four.
We were the hunters in the wilds
The hunted we also.
In heart and mind we steeled ourselves
Who sought the hiden foe
Down dusty tracks, through moonless nights,
An ambush yet unsprung
We bore it all with careless hearts
Back then for we were young.
With keenest edge and readiness
Each watched his buddy's back,
Yet now and then a brother fell;
We called it taking flack
We gathered here (who beat the clock)
Now old, but then were young,
Who fought the war out in the wilds,
The hills and trees among,
Bow down our heads and call to mind
Past things, though seldom told,
Of hardships, war and sacrifice;
Our friends who grew not old.
With heads still bowed we know again
The heat, the noise, the places
And in our minds we see once more
The long gone smiling faces.
Our sorrowed pangs as hard to bear
This day, though years have passed
As they had been long years before
When first that shadow cast.