John A. Moller

ANZAC DAY DAWN SERVICE, 2004

The old men shuffled out of the grey-black veil
In that moment just before first light
Medals clink-clinking on skeletal chests
Bodies bowed but never broken
Held up by the steel of pride and history
Eyes moist from the cold southerly wind
Fluttering the flag of Empires now gone.

The Dog Star “Sirius” fell then from the vault of heaven
As ordinary men once called to do
Extraordinary things brought their pain
Bundled up in tattered greatcoats of youth
As supplication to courage and honour
Death and ten thousand bright bitter tears
Purified in the cauldron of war.

One of the oldest warriors came forward then
With more scars than skin
Turned and said to us,
“If the children of politicians
Had been first upon the firing step
There would be no need for this.”