Anzac Day

On that sacred day
our family would drive
up the Princes Highway
to West Footscray.
Having met George
and his family, we proceeded to the city.
There we farewelled the men
and fiddled with our flags
as we waited on the footpath.
The march began with old soldiers
in proud uniforms riding horses,
and a few driven in cars;
perhaps they’d been wounded.
Among the thousands of men
would be a few groups of women;
nurses, my mother would explain.
We loved the marching bands,
especially the bagpipes,
and the bass drums;
beaters twirling in steady rhythm
to provide a familiar pattern
for once-practised feet.
All the men in the city
seemed to be marching,
as we waited on tired legs
for our mothers to identify
the strange blue banner.
We hoped to glimpse
our silent hero fathers
as the ranks paraded past
in solemn celebration of the lost:
the years,
the comrades,
and the innocence.
© Ken Rookes

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