John A. Moller


Dawn light unmasks memories
of fragments of yesterdays
best forgotten on bloody tracks
with a medic sprinting past
-legs pumping, pale faced and drawn
knowing the horror he will face
and what’s left of a mate
at the point of the section attack.

Just a kid really, with a heart bigger
than any outback I know
-mindless of the flame and din
he will do what he can
ignoring the enemy who don’t give a
damn for the red cross on his back.

Jinking in and out of the smoke
an angel of mercy in dark places
giving soft words and courage
to the moanings of ravaged flesh
and hope to the fragments
slipping away bloodily
through shaking hands.

Sweat-sheened in morphine’s pallor
first field dressings
stem the awful tide of blood
glistening darkly on green grass spikes
and darkness falling early
- too early for some.

One day I’ll put the bits together
and write to his mother
in quiet salute to a brave man
and the knowledge a monument stands
within the hearts of all infantry
for the medics and ministering angels
who heard our cries and answered
in the crucible of Vietnam.

Author’s Note: For Corporal “Sam” Brown MM. 4RAR NZ (ANZAC) Bn. Published 1995 in “Cry in the Wilderness: Guinea Pigs of Vietnam” Australia