Anthony W. Pahl

ANZAC DAY, 2004

Already, on the eve of that holy-day,
the awfully beautiful sound of the Last Post
echoed in my head and heart
as I knelt at the edge of my bed
in the posture of prayer…
with the pain of hopelessness
and helplessness
and fear

I awoke confused at the sounding of the alarm
and vomited at the reality
of that hopelessness…
that helplessness…
that fear.

Shrapnel
from two gelatine sleeping grenades
severed synapses in my brain
(and heart)
and mercifully rendered me
uncaringly semi-conscious…
too exhausted
to remember the promises
made in the gusto of determination
and inebriation of honour and pride.

I dreamed a memorial service
to my past strength
and current humiliation…

Such was the unsuccessful
and insignificant
tribute?
to my mates.

God, I pray they forgive me.
God, give me strength
to forgive myself!