Anthony W. Pahl


Open your eyes you bastard,
we want you here right now!
Say something; come on digger,
your friends are all around.

Squeeze my hand you bloody wanker,
still light in this here day.
Work to be done old cobber –
can’t sleep the day away

Talk to me you arsehole;
tell me that bloody joke again…
Got a tinny and a smoke here;
at least show that you’re in pain!

I’ll help you to your feet mate –
the chopper’s on the way.
You’ll be ok you silly bastard,
not your turn to die today

Some stupid bloody performance!
Open your eyes so you can see.
Breathe, you rotten arsehole…
don’t bloody die on me!

Shit mate – you’re not a lifer –
ten days an’ you’re out’a here.
The round eye sheilas’ll love ya
have no bloody fear.

Fair dinkum mate! Come off it…
you’re scarin’ shit out’a me!
We’re all dyin’ to bloody get home…

Please God swap him for me!

Author’s Note: This poem is a sequel to “Dust Off” and is written about the same incident. I was the gunner on the helicopter that “dusted-off” the bloke who had died, as well as his mate who, although wounded, was holding and talking to him. Both poems are recollections of the emotions and words that the wounded digger sobbed out to me on the flight back to the Australian Army hospital at Vung Tau.

The “Dying” Trilogy

Part 1: They Were Dying to Go Home by Richard D. Preston
Part 2: Dyin’ To Get Home by Anthony W. Pahl
Part 3: Dying They Came Home by Lucille J. Biscaglio