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



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