Monday, April 30, 2012

You Never Talked of The War

we’d drive to Auckland,
wearing red paper poppies,
you, your row of glowing medals,
me, with fresh Brasso remains
still under my finger nails.
We attended the service,
sang ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’
choked up for The Last Post
and left our poppies
next to the wreathes.
And afterwards, lunch,
then hide and seek
around the tables and chairs
with nameless children
seen just once a year
while you reminisced
with the 22nd Battalion boys
and the wives chatted.

But you never talked of the war,
not at home
not to us.

When I did my OE
I got a letter in reply
to my stories of Italy
asking, “What did you see at Casino?
You DID go to Casino?”
and I replied, “We haven’t
got enough money
to be gambling.”
The sharp response came,
“Not A casino, Casino!
You did go there?”
But we had simply driven past,
not stopped to reflect
on how you killed and
came close to death
yourself, and in fact how
something in you
had indeed died
in that battle.

You had never talked of war,
not at home
not to us.

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