1914 – Francesca Sasnatis

            ’neath the light of a perfect peace, they sing
            for the love of God and Country, Honour Duty Grace
Look Ma,from the top of the ridge I can see
all the way down to the quay, the boy swaggers
no holds barred. HMAS Sydney steams into harbour
and the slouch-hatted boys go marching on, hoorah
hoorah, over the bridge and far away, hoorah
crowds gather to wave, horns call and drums beat—
my heart skips—a sonorous doom, endlessly unfolding
            in a moment
Ships don’t wait for beards to grow, for boys to be—
from the top of his barrel-loaded dray he dreams
I am King of all I survey, he dreams of Italy England
France, of the flicker of life between red and green,
the flame of morning over the Arno the Thames the Seine
Come on Tommy! in the eternal dance of horse and dray,
the horse staggers, the dray lurches, and the boy slips
for a moment
His knees crease, and graze the dirt of the churchyard
on the hill where the faithful congregate to pray—
bring your own bread and wine, boys, the host does not provide.
Maurice gets ready to fly, loop-the-loop over Victoria Park,
watch the uniforms march by and tip their hats, hip hip hooray
hip hip To Victory! hooray they cry, arms stiff with guns,
eyes all straight ahead, they never hesitate
            not for a moment