Colin F. Jones

(Lest We Forget)

The digger ran up and called out “Sir”
“I have a message for you”
The Colonel turned said “As you were”
And read the message through

“Shit” he said and drew his pen,
And scribbled something down
“Make haste my man, Run back again”
With his face drawn in a frown

The soldier raised his hand to head
Saluted the Officer and ran
Through the trenches where the dead
Matched every living man

Down the slope among the rocks
He ran with pounding heart
Until the blood soaked through his socks
As the rocks tore his boots apart

The bullets whined about his head
The mortar bombs nearby
Blasted Earth where soldiers bled
And made the shrapnel fly

But on he ran denied a hand
By a blast that snapped it free
But like a sprinter fine and grand
Sped on with rapid knee

Soon the command post loomed up near
As he paused to take a breath
Saw the Generals eyes so wide with fear
As he witnessed the runners death

On he ran numbed and robbed
Into the depths of night
Not seeing how the soldiers sobbed
As he died there in their sight

Back in the trench the Colonel called,
“Stand up! It’s time to fight!”
“Come on stand up” the Sergeants called,
And they stood up left and right

“Our orders are to charge the foe!
So charge the foe we will”
For what the Colonel didn’t know
Was the runner had been killed

“Get ready now – say a prayer,
Fix bayonets Ready! Fix!!”
From every soldier that was there
Came clicks and clicks and clicks.

“Steady now” the Colonel said
Through his chattering Jaws
“Put a bullet through each head,
Before it’s put through yours”

“Steady men, Ready Charge!!!
Up and over you go.”
“Shit I’m hit, take over Sarge,
Hey corporal, come… And Oh!”

Like blades of grass in tempest wild
They fell in lines of red
Shot and torn and some defiled
Fell over their comrades, dead

Smoke and blast and bullet streams
Tore them all apart
The horror of their dying screams
Still raging in our hearts

Thus we remember those who died,
Slaughter all like sheep
Who faced their deaths with Aussie pride
That we the peace could keep