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Anzac Day 2020

With Anzac Day services a little different this year (instead of heading to the Australian War Memorial in Hyde Park corner by night bus at three in the morning for the dawn ceremony, we woke up and listened to the Last Post in our lounge room while urban foxes walked down the empty street in front of us), I thought I might post a little Australian poetry, one of the major inspirations for my novel Where The Line Breaks.

Here’s a little bit from To The Boys Who Took The Count, part of The Moods of Ginger Mick by C.J. Dennis.

So, the bloke wiv the scoff, an' the bloke wiv the sneer,
   An' the coot wiv the sensitive soul,
'E 'as got to sit back, an' jist change 'is idear
   Uv the stuffin' that makes a man whole.
Fer the polish an' gilt that's a win wiv the skirts
   It wears thin wiv the friction uv war.
So 'ere's to the cove 'oo is nursin' 'is 'urts
   Wiv an oath in the set uv 'is jor.


When yeh've stripped a cove clean an' got down to the buff
   Yeh come to the meat that's the man.
If yeh want to find grit an' sich similar  stuff,
   Yeh've to strip on a similar plan.
Fer there's nothin' like scrappin' to bare a man's soul,
   If it's Billo, or Percy, or Gus.
So 'ere's to the bloke 'oo 'ops round on a pole
   An' 'owls songs goin' 'ome on the bus.


Spare me days!  When a bloke takes the count in a scrap
   That 'e's fightin' fer you an' fer me,
Is it fair that a snob 'as the nerve fer to snout
   Any swad 'cos 'is manners is free?
They're deservin' our thanks, frum the best to the worst -
   An' there's some is reel rorty, I own -
But 'ere's to the coot wiv the 'ang-over thirst
   'Oo sprags a stray toff fer a loan.


So I'm writin' to Mick; an' I'm feelin' reel wet
   Wiv the sort o' superior nark,
'Oo tilts up 'is conk an' gits orl the boys set,
   'Oo are out fer a bit uv a lark.
So I puts it to Mick, as I sez when I starts,
   An' I ends wiv the solemest toast:
'Ere's to 'im - (raise yer glass) - 'oo left pride in our 'earts
   An' 'is bones on Gallipoli coast.

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