ANZAC: Australian & New Zealand Army Corps 1914 – 18. Lest We Forget.
I’d like to share a poem written by a friend of mine: Norman Ronald Casson.
Norm was a special man. He loved life. His nature was sweet, which echoed tales of fun and laughter. A ‘big’ man, he towered over me, and most.
Norm passed in 2011. He wrote many poems and always shared a joke or two. We loved this man, and miss his smiling face. His eyes held such an honest gaze with an intelligence that belied his unassuming gait.
One of Norm’s most attractive qualities was the way in which he saw ordinary events in such great detail, both physically, and in that elusive quality of the ‘heart’, as is evidenced by his poetry.
Here is one of his ANZAC remembrance poems:
(Listen while you read)
I met an old digger on Anzac day and the
look in his eyes seemed so far away,
He’d marched before dawn and now out of breath,
had remembered his mates and their untimely death.
And he spoke of a war long before my time
where just to survive, you grew old while still in your prime
And he said….. Eleven of us volunteered from my home town,
there wasn’t even enough uniforms to go all around.
And a sergeant thought he’d get a country boy fit
with latrine duty, digging the pit.
Then herded onto boats and Dardanelles bound
to fight Johnny Turk upon his home ground.
Three days at Pozieres almost drove us insane,
the German big guns, the shells fell like rain.
And the mud at the Somme could bog a man down
with a ninety pound backpack, you’d easily drown.
The devil must have taken note, as we sprang from the trench
and charged head long for the barbed wire fence.
The orchestra of gun fire played all the time,
sleep was a luxury so hard to find.
Then Armistice Day, I stood all alone,
ten of my mates would never go home.
So I’ve marched each year down to the square;
stood at attention at the stone monument there.
But I can put faces to those names graved in stone
and at least, in my memory, I can bring my mates home.
Poem © Norman Ronald Casson
© Carolyn Page