ANZAC DAY – An elegy extra for April 25.4.2018

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As I publish this it is early on the morning of ANZAC and in an hour or so hundred upon thousands of people in NewZealand and Australia, as far as the peninsular in Gallipoli and later in London they will gather to remember with sadness the men and women of all the overseas wars our personnel have served in. We will remember them.

My Uncle Paul, my godfather, served and suffered but came home to us the loving man he had always been. God Bless you, my beloved  Uncle. Benno in the poem is my father.

 

Dear Brother Benno

to:  Uncle Paul

 

My father, eleven years of age at the time, Paul

was twenty-three. A postcard from France, 1916.

 

Received mail from home some time ago.

Enquires of Benno new teacher, better

than the old                                And, I say

Benno have you grown any more since I saw

you last, or are you still as small as ever. Give

my best love to Mother and Father. I remain

your loving brother.

 

A curly letter  M – addressed to Mr Benno,

squeezed beneath which he wrote. I also received

a letter from Linda. Can you tell them that.

Again no question mark appears, though all

available space is used, taking care to show only

the face he most dearly wishes his family to see.

 

Turn the postcard over and on it embroidered

 

‘Greetings from the trenches’

 

Conservation work is needed here with flimsy

fabric and cardboard lifting. But in this small

card you confirmed us in the family of ANZAC.

You remain for me a hero, the kindest of men

and of the suffering you never spoke. I often held

the hands that from the outbreak of yet another war

never ceased to shake. For how long then could you

continue at your trade of carpentry? An old man

before your time. And, when yet another war began

in 1939 Benno, by then, soldiering in the Homeguard,

because he too past a prime for warring as Paul had done

in World War One: four long years Egypt, France, Gallipoli.

 

Benita H. Kape © 27.10.2013

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Elegy (2) NaPoWriMo – 24.4.2018

Elegy (2)

After Twenty-four Years

 

You were so tired. I’ve never

seen rain like it when you went.

How often does it happen? The

undertaker had to take you

back. We would wait, and

tempers would flair before

the morning when finally we

laid you to rest beside Dad.

That waiting was such a shame.

I’ll bet it was the worst night

you’d ever,

or ever will have.

 

One thing I’m sure of:

the next morning it was you

who determined the weather.

In your slight, gentle Scots brogue

you put things in motion. You’d

had enough.

 

Last evening, I’d done my best,

singing as the hearse moved

not to the graveside, but back

up the street. I’d failed. So,

as I remember it; at the quiet

graveside that morning, only

the minister’s blessings. All

else was whispers. I heard

your fading voice in the wind.

From you, I’d learned forgiveness.

Others had too, and others had not.

 

Benita Kape © 24.4.2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 image

Today for NaPoWriMo we have for our suggested prompt Elegy.

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