The Column Will March Again – by George Mansford

I didn’t know the old soldier farewelled today

Many of his comrades were there to bid a fond hooray

No Ministers of the Crown or other big wigs did attend

He was just another statistic for Canberra to amend

During the service there were no VIP photo shoots

Just an old bloke being buried who had worn military boots

Once a young fellow who stepped forward to be enlisted

Or was he one of those the government conscripted?

He was the blank file, the marker and in the rear rank

Perhaps a rifleman, gunner, sig or in a tank

He was one of many who soldiered in thick and thin

Stepping into the unknown to face war and its terrible din

 

Like his mates, he laughed and joked when thing were tough

Was there a time in the field when it wasn’t rough?

When danger threatened he always stood fast

Vowing to remain with his mates to the very last

 

He was the young bloke from next door

The butcher, baker or the kid from the grocery store

The bank teller or the quiet one who came from the farm

Or the nomad from the outback always ready with a yarn

The salesman knocking on the door to tempt you to buy more

He was the hero on final leave before sailing from our shores

He became the old bloke who never missed an ANZAC Day

 

The lone pensioner known for a smile and a warm gidday

And in the end, a joke to share while waiting for God’s bus

He was a proud old soldier and a treasure to all of us

I reckon as he was bid that fond hooray

Those who went before him were already saying gidday

 

So as sure as day follows night

Soon or late, Father Time will win this fight

Then their proud column will once more be complete

As they march along some far distant street

George Mansford © July 2011