David J. Delaney
Here I am, awake again, it’s the middle of the night
Lying covered in sweat, heart thumping from the fright
I truly wish they would pass and I no longer see
Night-time in the jungle, another fight with the VC.
My wife is fast asleep; I know she shares my pain
I quietly move to the patio, now it’s starting to rain
The rain has a relaxing feeling, as I sip at my drink
Sitting back in my chair, drifting back in time as I think.
Thinking of our old Diggers, returning from a campaign
Did they have the nightmares and unrelenting pain?
I know from any service many are quiet and reserved
Shrugging away the recognition, we know they all deserve.
Serving in Europe, Asia, The pacific or African desert
Building a railway line, and in prison camps, did they deserve it
When they returned to their home, things seemed so strange
Did they get on with life; move on in their chosen game.
My memories will never fade, mates who died in my arms
Or a group of us trying to cross those mine riddled farms
Trip wires with grenades or poison spiked bamboo
Booby trapped rubber plantations, taking hours to get through.
These government experts, Ha! Put my memories in their head
People who wouldn’t know, what it’s like to crawl over the dead
They say it will be fine, I’ll get better, live a normal life
This will come easier with support from family and my wife.
What of our young men and women Diggers of today
Serving their country, in a land somewhere so far away
All of us should support them, this we should show
Whether they patrol the deserts or in freezing snow.
So let’s welcome these Diggers home, our arms open wide
Not like some of us, shun them, so away they hide
These young soldiers make me so proud I want to cheer
I meet some at the R.S.L, and with them I share a beer.
Walking inside my wife stirs then asks “am I alright”
Responding with “yes” but knowing it will be a long night
Feeling at ease laying here surrounded by these four walls
Thinking how wonderful it would be, a world without wars.
©Copyright April 18, 2007 by David J Delaney
Author’s Note: This tribute is for all our Diggers past and present, especially for 2 mates (Vietnam), 2 Uncles (Korea), Father in law (POW in Changi for 3½ years) and a dear friend I worked with for several years who was a “Rat” of Tobruk. It is also for other Diggers I have met over the years; their stories are and were amazing – be they humorous or horrific.
Lest We Forget!
The piece is the first of a collection of “vets” poems and was written through the eyes of a Vietnam veteran. It so moved the Gordonvale R.S.L. that they had the two local high school captains recite it at the ANZAC morning service in Gordonvale (south of Cairns) in 2007.