Your Story

Poem tells a tale of life back home during war

PATRICIA Jarvis has shared this poem with readers, which she said she likes to read each Anzac Day. 

It was written by her father, Collins Andrew Fisher Brennan, who died in 1981.

He spent time during the Second World War at Milne Bay in the RAAF but he always had a soft spot for the Vietnam vets.   
                                         
 NO RETURN

The letter was marked for returning.
It had lain there for six weeks or more.
The address was a smeared blue of scrawling.
Just the number, Vietnam and Bill Shaw.

The Adjutant glanced at it idly,
Just one of a dozen or so.
A quick glance down through the pages,
Then into the bin it could go

He noted the heading "Dear Billy"
And mused to himself "what the hell?"
I'll read this one down to the finish
It might have a story to tell

The letter was written in pencil
In a scrawling and untidy hand
He could tell by the text of the wording
It was done by a man on the land

Dear Billy, I'm writing to tell you
How thins are at home
The wheat crop's a real bloody beauty
And the bank has agreed to a loan

I got that young bull from Wyralla
Just won't leave the heifers alone,
He's duffing them left, right and centre
Struth Bill, I wish you were home

It's hard mate just me on the station
With all what a man's got to do
The fencing and ploughing and planting
And thirty young cows up the flue

Young Kathy came over on Sunday.
She's lonely, son, since you went away
She rode 14 miles out to see me
I took her back home on the dray.

It makes me feel good, Bill, to see her
I'll be real bloody glad when you're wed
To have someone here at the station;
It's a long time now Mother's been dead

The future looks good to me Billy
Our place is sure going to spread
The worst of our battling is over
I can only see good times ahead.

There's one thing I wanted to say, Bill,
I got a queer letter today,
About some bloke, Lance Corporal Shaw, son,
Got killed on the 15th of May.

Guess he ain't one of ours though
I ain't ever heard of no Lance
Did you happen to know the poor bastard,
I suppose that's an unlikely chance

Well I'll finish this letter for now mate,
Trust to God that you're keeping it alright
As I said in this letter before, son
Our future looks real bloody bright

READ MORE: Bundaberg woman's tales from the Second World War

Topics:  anzac day, poems, second world war, vietnam war, your-anzac-stories, your story




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'I apologise every day that I am not the person he married'

My battle with postnatal depression...

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Five places in Queensland with water parks

GO EAST: East Shores in Gladstone was a gift to the community.

Bundy residents still want one here

End of an era for Bundy pub owner

END OF AN ERA: Simon Thompson is selling the Club Hotel in Bundaberg after owning it for 5 years. Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail

How much will The Club Hotel sell for?

Man hands himself into police after Macca's assault

Bundaberg Police Station Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail

Macca's security guard punched in carpark

Latest deals and offers

Dash Cam of Slip in Snow

Even light snow can be hazardous.

Dash cam shows how easy it is to lose control in even light snow.

Chaos outside Istanbul Airport

Turkish police block the road after an suicide bomb attack at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, 28 June 2016. At least 10 people were killed in two separate explosions that hit Ataturk Airport.

Distress as cars escape Istanbul airport after bombing.

Panic inside Istanbul Airport

Turkish police block the road after an suicide bomb attack at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, 28 June 2016. At least 10 people were killed in two separate explosions that hit Ataturk Airport.

Dramatic vision from inside Istanbul airport after explosin.

Burnett Heads housing development approved

COUNCIL APPROVED: A Burnett Heads housing development has been approved by Bundaberg Regional Council. Photo Contributed

Councillors approved the development seven votes to four

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward