MEMORIES OF LONG TAN

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TWO POEMS  IN MEMORY OF PAUL LARGE

 

This photo reminds me of the terrible cost,

When a young digger’s life is suddenly lost.

Captured in time drinking from his canteen.

As moving a photograph as I’ve ever seen.

For young Paul was killed at the Battle of Long Tan.

Facing the enemy as he made his last stand.

There was no finer digger that fought in the line.

His memory must endure the harsh test of time.

He was not meant to be there, but he volunteered.

The service he gave must be greatly revered.

For he gave up his life doing what he thought right.

A selfless sacrifice, during that terrible fight.

Paul Large upheld our finest Anzac traditions,

Serving his country in such trying conditions.

The bravery he showed must be conserved for all time,

As a shining example of our men in the line!

Look back at the photo and see what I mean.

It’s a classic life moment as ever I’ve seen,

Of a handsome young digger photographed in a war,

Taking a drink before giving his all!

Bill Charlton c 2015

STANDING TALL

“You don’t have to go, you’re already exempt!”

Mum pleaded with Paul in one final attempt.

“I’ve got to go Mum all my mates are off too!”

But with the physical done, only he would get through.

They sent her young son across the seas,

Far from his friends and family.

It just took a marble to be put on a plane,

But sadly real war is no schoolboy game.

War is a thing without reason or rule,

With no clear distinction between normal and cruel.

This is the stage where boy becomes man,

And a lifetime can end at the wave of a hand.

Straining the eyes with a thousand yard stare,

They sweep through the rubber to see who’s there.

“Contact front!” “Go to ground!”

The boy in the man can feel his heart pound.

Aim at the enemy, fire at will.

Wave after wave and they’re coming in still.

Then down falls the rain and a mist sets in.

And the artillery’s screaming an horrendous din.

After three hours the battle subsides,

Our APCs have pushed back the tide.

It’s time to take stock, so they turn to young Paul

In the heat of the battle they had not seen him fall.

A funeral was held in his old home town,

And as the gun carriage came around,

Mum saw that her doors were opened wide,

So his spirit could find its way inside.

And they planted a tree for every man.

For the eighteen diggers who died at Long Tan.

Mum watered Paul’s till the day she died.

“It’s the tallest tree there!” she whispered with pride.

“We were proud of our brother!” his five sisters recall.

“He died for his country – he gave them his all.

Those soldiers were heroes – each and every man

Who fought in the rubber trees at Long Tan!”

Bill Charlton c 2010

*Dedicated to the Memory of Private Paul Large

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