Decades after the war, clear images remain submerged in the privacy of the minds of many soldiers. A special bond was generated between men of similar ilk who shared unique experiences together. Whilst realistically it must be acknowledged that there were the odd ‘misfits’ at all levels of rank, they were thankfully few and far between. That aside, these bonds of friendship that are the central theme of this poem are difficult for outsiders to fully comprehend and in fact any attempt at trying to explain them is near impossible. 

                                     “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
                                        For he today that sheds his blood with me …
                                        shall be my brother! ...”

                                                                                                            - Shakespeare, Henry V.

A  Matter  of  Attitude

A  Matter  of  Attitude


Just this last week-end,
I took time with a good friend,
Both trying to recall these past years;
Familiar faces,
And all those strange places,
Brought a mixture of laughter and tears. 

With our minds running free,
Reminiscing with me,
Discussing all the rights and the wrongs;
So here with my old mate,
We stayed until quite late,
Accompanied by red wine and some songs. 

’Tis a matter of attitude,
Resentment or gratitude,
I’d do it all over, just the same;
Even with all of the tears,
Throughout all these years,
Enjoying the little I have is my aim. 

A Vietnamese young girl,
A card from that old world,
Reminds me of the things that I’ve done;
Like a tour of duty,
Knowing still there was beauty,
In monsoons and that hot Asian sun. 

And I’ve heard all those stories,
All of those ‘warries’,
Again at the re-union last year;
Oh how they are relished,
Each one more embellished,
By time and the consumption of beer. 

’Tis a matter of attitude,
So full of gratitude,
Survival is just really a game;
“ ’Cause each day is ‘gravy’ mate!”
We think that, at any rate,
And so life must go on just the same.


*  *  *

Politicians ignoring,
They started the warring,
Made promises that they didn’t keep;
Some still strut the world stage,
In spite of their age,
Sad, guilty men with their minds still asleep. 

Yet, not all is in vain,
I’ll never trust one again,
Though a cynic, I try not to hate;
No apologies said,
Welcome Home March here instead,
But twenty years down the track was too late! 

’Tis a matter of attitude,
Resentment or gratitude,
Depends on your outlook, I’d say;
There’s wounded still dying,
And old mothers still crying,
So for some it just won’t go away. 

And I’ll never forget,
With real regret,
Those who did not survive the long haul;
Nor a few ‘pips’ and ‘crowns’,
‘Stripes’ and those clowns,
Some, real bastards that I can recall. 

Now regrets are for losers,
And if one so chooses,
Over-indulged then that would be wrong;
’Cause there were real mates for me,
That fact is the key,
Why our friendships have lasted so long. 

’Tis a matter of attitude,
Degree of just gratitude,
Of images that others can’t see;
And though rust never sleeps,
All those bonds are for keeps,
And no one can ever take that from me!


©



     At the  [20 year late ] 'Welcome Home Parade' - Sydney, October 1987 - Author ('PJ'), John O'Callaghan ('Johnno'), Kevin Borger ('Borg')

                                                                    (Scout/rifleman - Machine Gunner No.1 - Machine Gunner No.2)