BACKWARD GLANCE – Poem from the Somme 1917
On 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare. This conflict mobilised more than 70 million people and left between nine and 13 million dead. Today, the loss of Australian lives from all wars and conflicts is commemorated on Remembrance Day.
This poem was written just before going into the firing line on the Somme in 1917 by the “Coolum Anzac”, J Jolly.
I picture clear those grand pines growing
Towering mystic to the sky
Through long leaves the wind is blowing
Rustling through the branches high.
Dewdrops on the wattles glistening
Bejewel the gold of each bright ball
Hark, I strain my ears and listening
Hear afar the coach whip's call
Other songbirds sweetly singing
Mid fragrant blossoms and flowers fair
O'er embankments climbing, clinging
Exhaling perfume everywhere
I see well too yon sweeping landscape
Though with closed eyes, I dream
For soon my farewell must I take
And bid these all a long goodbye
Farewell, my native land, farewell
An if I see thee never more
No other mortal tongue shall tell
What reverent love to thee I bore
To all loved ones I breathe goodbye
We know not who go forth to fall
Regrets are futile, do not sigh
For God is watching over all.
Lest we forget
Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.