Australian soldiers during the Boer War 1900 - (Internet )
Fame and Glory
The general characters alluded to in this poem are well known to most veterans. Posers and ‘wannabes’ are being exposed more frequently these days both in the Press and on the Internet (see www.cpmh.net).
“ The safest thing to be said is that nobody knew how much
a decoration was really worth, except the man who received it! ”
- Siegfried Sassoon in Memories of an Infantry Officer, 1918.
Fame and Glory
Records are penned,
By obscure men,
And few marched beyond the wire;
To mask truth’s trails,
And ranks close when under fire.
For some of those,
Dressed in powerful clothes,
Myths protect them from attention;
We should recall,
History’s ‘warts and all’,
A few worth a passing mention.
When war was done,
Some remained, stayed on,
Military life clearly suited them;
Later looking back,
Then down the track,
With a promotion to R.S.M.
So I ponder now,
When I wonder how,
In those leaders around me, I saw,
Of experienced men,
Mere ‘grunts’ in the Korean War.
A past’s parade,
Means memories fade,
Anecdotes embellished every year;
Exacerbated with each beer?
These men regale,
Relish a tale,
Delight in ‘spinning a warrie’;
With fire in their eyes,
In a vain hunt for fame and glory.
’Twas last Anzac Day,
I heard some bloke say:
“This combat badge I wear, I earned!”
“Out on patrol!”
’Twas the lie he sold,
And yet never left the base, we learned.
“They shall grow not old!”
That’s what we’re told,
Frequently plays at the R.S.L;
Whilst there offering thanks,
Some climb the ranks,
Paying honour to those who fell.
And with good intent,
Serve as President,
Or take on tasks in ‘vet’ welfare;
Such voluntary work,
Has no hidden perk,
Most concerned in genuine care.
And ’tis praise-worthy,
Yet for others, a mere second phase;
Provides another chance,
Theirs first lost during war-time days.
And for these I’m sure,
Just like before,
Are now focused in one direction;
With fantasy goals,
And more medals for their collection.
Admitted by none,
Yet true for some,
No doubt theirs is a different story;
A cover disguise,
To seek the prize,
In their vain hunt for fame and glory.