Wilfred Wagner MBE

Wagner served with the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force in 1941 during WWII


Tonight no pomp and glory,
no fanfare of heraldic sound,
but the groan of straining motors,
and clank of metal tracks,
on stony desert ground.
In dusty camouflage of night
no man-made lights are shown;
objects are but shadows dark,
on lighter shadow thrown.
To right and left, behind, before,
the whole horizon seems to move,
an Army rolls up seeking fight,
its strength against unknown strength to prove.
Slowly, inexorably, they jolt across the sand.
Ant-like lines of transport – vehicles of wrath –
fingers of destiny reaching forth
like grasping tentacles upon a fateful hand –
the encroaching miser-like hand of death
intent to rob some human frame of breath.
What poignant things the morrow may unfold,
what mockeries of fortune or of fate,
before the desert sands once more have grown cold
Men, born of love united, may die victims of hate.
Who knows which of these keen young hearts,
in tune with taut nerves, beating high,
shall pierced by Fate’s fiery darts,
To-morrow death-numbed lie?