Mike Subritzky


Pastures green, poppy fields,
graves for soldiers fallen.
A wooden cross marks a resting place,
a thousand miles from loved ones.

Rusted wire, silent guns,
trenches torn and broken.
A helmet rests on a rifle butt,
the tools of war unspoken.

Anzac Days, colours blaze,
their battle honours borne on.
Old men march and a bugle plays,
in memory of the fallen.

Author’s Note: Written after the announcement by then Prime Minister, Keith Holyoake that New Zealand would contribute troops to Vietnam. This is the first New Zealand poem to be read at Westminster Abbey. It was read at the ANZAC Day Service 2004, by Lord Freyberg.