"We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time." (T S Eliot)
"A dark and chanted verse is what I am." (
Forough Farrokhzad)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

DIGGERS

So many distractions;
But can you stop awhile?
Stare at the ocean,
Imagine it lapping
On coasts far away
In other places
And, even, long ago.

On that narrow beach -
A fortress cove,
Impregnable.
Across the channel -
Trenches in the mud,
Ballets by Spandau.
Fickle waters
That fail to drench
The dreaded deserts
Of a once holy land.
And ports and harbours
Throughout old empires -
Now benighted lands of other gods.
Warm tropical streams
That wind around
The islands to our north
And the jungles
And cities
Beyond their beaches.

A hundred years?
Where have they gone?
All the men are gone -
Some then and some,
It seems, only yesterday.
Sentenced to death,
Or life in a prison
Of melancholy,
Memories
And late friends
Missing from the march -
Men sacrificed for us.
They can protest
No more
When we recast
Their history.

Best not to glorify
With postmodern words
That actually belittle
Their spirits
And fling false motives
Into the restless sea
Of history refined.

Best only to be
Thankful, humble, silent,
And stare at the ocean,
Imagine it lapping
On coasts far away
In other places
And, even, long ago.


The painting is one of Ben Quilty's depictions of veterans of the war in Afghanistan.

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