Anzac Day is observed on 25 April every year and honours members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) who lost their lives in foreign conflicts.
ANZAC Day Poems for you to share and enjoy.
A Brown Slouch Hat
There is a symbol, we love and adore it,
You see it daily wherever you go.
Long years have passed since our fathers once wore it,
What is the symbol that we should all know?
It’s a brown slouch hat with the side turned up, and it means the world to me.
It’s the symbol of our Nation—the land of liberty.
And as soldiers, they wear it, how proudly they bear it, for all the world to see.
Just a brown slouch hat with the side turned up, heading straight for victory.
Don’t you thrill as young Bill passes by?
Don’t you beam at the gleam in his eye?
Head erect, shoulders square, tunic spic and span,
Every inch a soldier and ev’ry inch a man.
As they swing down the street, aren’t they grand?
Three abreast to the beat of the band,
But what do we remember when the boys have passed along?
Marching by so brave and strong.
Just a brown ….
J Albert & Son, Sydney, 1942
Not a Hero
The ANZAC Day march was over – the old Digger had done his best.
His body ached from marching – it was time to sit and rest.
He made his way to a park bench and sat with lowered head.
A young boy passing saw him – approached and politely said,
“Please sir do you mind if I ask you what the medals you wear are for?
Did you get them for being a hero, when fighting in a war?”
Startled, the old Digger moved over and beckoned the boy to sit.
Eagerly the lad accepted – he had not expected this!
“First of all I was not a hero,” said the old Digger in solemn tone,
“But I served with many heroes, the ones that never came home.
So when you talk of heroes, it’s important to understand,
The greatest of all heroes gave their lives defending this land.
“The medals are worn in their honour, as a symbol of respect.
All diggers wear them on ANZAC Day – it shows they don’t forget.”
The old digger then climbed to his feet and asked the boy to stand.
Carefully he removed the medals and placed them in his hand.
He told him he could keep them – to treasure throughout his life,
A legacy of a kind – left behind – paid for in sacrifice.
Overwhelmed the young boy was speechless – he couldn’t find words to say.
It was there the old Digger left him – going quietly on his way.
In the distance the young boy glimpsed him – saw him turn and wave goodbye.
Saddened he sat alone on the bench – tears welled in his eyes.
He never again saw him ever – but still remembers with pride,
When the old Digger told him of Heroes and a young boy sat and cried.
We’re All Australians Now
Australia takes her pen in hand,
To write a line to you,
To let you fellows understand,
How proud we are of you.
From shearing shed and cattle run,
From Broome to Hobsons Bay,
Each native-born Australian son,
Stands straighter up today.
The man who used to “hump his drum”,
On far-out Queensland runs,
Is fighting side by side with some
Tasmanian farmer’s sons.
The fisher-boys dropped sail and oar
To grimly stand the test,
Along that storm-swept Turkish shore,
With miners from the west.
The old state jealousies of yore
Are dead as Pharaoh’s sow,
We’re not State children any more
We’re all Australians now!
Our six-starred flag that used to fly,
Half-shyly to the breeze,
Unknown where older nations ply
Their trade on foreign seas,
Flies out to meet the morning blue
With Vict’ry at the prow;
For that’s the flag the Sydney flew,
The wide seas know it now!
The mettle that a race can show
Is proved with shot and steel,
And now we know what nations know
And feel what nations feel.
The honoured graves beneath the crest
Of Gaba Tepe hill,
May hold our bravest and our best,
But we have brave men still.
With all our petty quarrels done,
We have, through what you boys have done,
A history of our own.
Our old world diff’rences are dead,
Like weeds beneath the plough,
For English, Scotch, and Irish-bred,
They’re all Australians now!
So now we’ll toast the Third Brigade,
That led Australia’s van,
For never shall their glory fade
In minds Australian.
Fight on, fight on, unflinchingly,
Till right and justice reign.
Fight on, fight on, till Victory
Shall send you home again.
And with Australia’s flag shall fly
A spray of wattle bough,
To symbolise our unity,
We’re all Australians now.
(AB “Banjo” Paterson)
After The Service
I saw a man parade today, in uniform complete,
His hat cocked neatly on his head, clean boots upon his feet,
His buttons highly polished, and his belt was shiny too,
His head held high, his shoulders back, like I once used to do.
The pride in him was evident in every move he made,
The smile and twinkle in his eye, that time would never fade,
So young and fit and confident, with his gun upon his shoulder,
And I prayed that he would never see his mates with him grow older.
For if I could alter history the wars would not have been,
No-one should ever have to face the horrors I have seen,
In the stinking, sweaty jungles, with the bullets and the bombs,
And the fever and the insects, in a world so full of wrongs.
I saw fighting in the deserts too, in blinding, searing heat,
Saw men go mad with thirst, or fear, or not a thing to eat,
I saw injuries and damages that no-one could believe,
And saw months of non-stop “action” without a day of leave.
I was part of ocean warfare in a ship and submarine,
Part of sinking other tortured souls – a memory obscene.
I saw oceans full of burning oil, and lifeboats upside down,
And officers and “other ranks” who would either burn or drown.
I piloted a bomber and I bombed from in the skies,
I saw planes explode, or crash to earth, and airmen, too, likewise,
I also flew a fighter and I flew it mighty well,
And I reckon what I saw of war would coincide with hell.
I was nursing sick and broken men to bring them back to health,
And I did all that I could do to protect the Commonwealth,
I fought and fed and flew and rode and drove and sailed and nursed,
And if I could have a dying wish, I’d see those days reversed.
Then no-one would be hurt next time, no mates or cobbers fall,
And everyone would understand the futility of it all,
Now I pray that that young man I saw will be just a sentinel,
And I pray that I’m a dying group, – for I am the R.S.L.
I saw a kid marchin’ with medals on his chest.
He marched alongside Diggers marching six abreast.
He knew that it was ANZAC Day – he walked along with pride.
He did his best to keep in step with the Diggers by his side.
And when the march was over the kid was rather tired.
A Digger said “Whose medals, son?” to which the kid replied:
“They belong to daddy, but he did not come back.
He died up in New Guinea on a lonely jungle track”.
The kid looked rather sad then and a tear came to his eye.
The Digger said “Don’t cry my son and I will tell you why.
Your daddy marched with us today – all the blooming way.
We Diggers know that he was there – it’s like that on ANZAC Day”.
The kid looked rather puzzled and didn’t understand,
But the Digger went on talking and started to wave his hand.
“For this great land we live in, there’s a price we have to pay
For we all love fun and merriment in this country where we live.
The price was that some soldier his precious life must give.
For you to go to school my lad and worship God at will,
Someone had to pay the price so the Diggers paid the bill.
Your daddy died for us my son – for all things good and true.
I wonder if you understand the things I’ve said to you”.
The kid looked up at the Digger – just for a little while
And with a changed expression, said, with a lovely smile:
“I know my dad marched here today – this is ANZAC Day.
I know he did. I know he did, all the bloomin’ way”.
(A veteran of Shaggy Ridge with the 2/12 Battalion in WW2)
For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)