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Published in The Herald Sun, Australia, 2011

 

Anzac Day at the G

2011

 

 

Gallipoli. France. Kokoda. A cold dawn.

Players among the young who joined up

for a bit of excitement. Poor exchange for

the hard-baked earth, the mud they found,  

a jungleís spiteful stings. A world gone mad.

 

Men who played by Aussie Rules

came back mad, blind, without their legs

or hands if they came back at all.

I was born to the sound of Nazi planes

and bombs, in darkness now forgotten

 

in a joy of cheering. For today I marched

singing with the Magpie Army

here to this oval field of play, vast and green,

to mark loss; to remember. Malthouseís last

Anzac. My first. First Magpie game.

 

And this year it is Easter. The bugle,

and the Last Post sounds before Reveille,

at the Shrine, now at the G.

And then the soldiers leave. Iím

Level 1, right by the cheer squad,

 

waves of voice like breakers on the shore -

and here they come, bolts of energy

that twist and duck and leap, stab-kick

and stretch to send the Sherrin soaring

high above our heads. Magpies and Bombers  

 

black and white and red, now marking,

now colliding head to head and hip to hip,

now side by side, and now confronting,

feet thudding like steers across a prairie

stripped of bush and tree; only the eight posts

 

for target, and the high ranks of spectators

to scream to the tune of Dolly Grey, Piesí

words etched in sore throats, a tribal cry

and tribal fire to make men race, to stretch,

to power a winning kick, a winning run.

 

And now itís my voice screaming, YES!

and NO and Go Harry! Wow Leon!

- my life is marked; I caught the bug.

An Anzac game, but like a Final. Just the day

to march, remember, and, above all, to play.

 

 

Hilary Elfick

published in The Herald Sun, Australia

 

see video of Hilary at the G

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 Hilary Elfick photo

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poetry favourites:
ASLEC-ANZ;
Some Stories
(listen in to
"An Ordinary Storm")

Pennings Partnership Press 

ppf shop on-line...
Poem Card -
"Holly Wreath"
(&
in Christmas set

shop elsewhere ...
pamphlets -
"The Outshift Places"
and
Water Colour",
Hen Run

collections -
"An Ordinary Storm"
(republished 2010), Oversteps Books;

"The Third Mile"
(2008),
Guildford Poets Press;

"An Ordinary Storm"
(2007),
University of Otago, Dunedin;

"Bush Track"
and
"Harpoon the Breeze",
Guildford Poets Press;

"Going Places - Poems and Tales",
"Unexpected Spring",
"The Horse Might Sing",  
Envoi;

 "Let Time Hold Its Breath",
Saint Publishing,
NZ;

bi-lingual -
"A Single Instinct",
Integral/CLP
(Bucharest);

joint -
"On The Edge",
Pennings Partnership Press;

"Attending to the Fact - Staying with Dying",
Jessica Kingsley Publishers;

novel -
"The Sleeping Warrior",
Cromwell
Publishers

Wedding Gift Card-Book

 


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