Ghost of a ‘Coo-ee’ one hundred years on,
wandering spectre of ages long gone,
looking at life through my transcendent eyes –
endlessly destined to bleed.
Thoughts stalk the labyrinth eons of mind,
lost in a limbo, unable to find
rest from the chaos of Earth’s battle cries –
watching descendants still bleed.
After Gallipoli’s heart-rending pain,
we rallied round to the Coo-ee refrain
leaving behind all the joys of our youth –
wife, bearing-child, left to bleed.
Nineteen fifteen, “…war to end all the wars”,
we were infused with the Coo-ee March cause;
we were the patriots fighting for truth –
willingly forging to bleed.
Lads volunteering to serve and obey
anxious to join in the Empire’s assay,
filled with belief that our purpose was right –
not knowing how we would bleed.
We fought the stench with each gas-laden breath,
wallowed with rats while surrounded by death
wailed with the agony, froze up in fright –
buried in trenches to bleed.
Son of my fruitfulness, I never saw,
grew up to fight in a Second World War,
filled with the faith of his dead father’s dreams –
one among millions to bleed.
Chaos and turbulence, blood staining years,
men, just past boyhood, enmeshed in their fears,
suffering battlefield’s cruel extremes –
grandchildren orphaned to bleed.
Son of my son found the Vietnam war,
camouflage tactics not known of before,
different horrors but still the same curse –
youth sent on missions to bleed.
One more descendant had died a young man.
Next call to arms was in Afghanistan.
Death did not come but perhaps even worse –
all of his lifetime to bleed.
Father returned from the desert-scape Hell,
haunted by nightmares too cruel to tell,
caught in the turmoil of sanity’s loss –
wife and son share in the bleed.
Five generations of lads of the land
fighting in conflicts they don’t understand,
crucified youth on a false Southern Cross –
causing our loved ones to bleed.
Tragic account of my off-springs’ descent,
mothers and orphaned boys left to lament,
surely it’s time for an end to the fights. –
“Challenge the order to bleed!”
Too many crosses on too many graves,
too many heroes that history saves,
too many killings for each nation’s rights –
“Please put an end to the bleed!”
“Must it pass on to the children just born –
blood-stained inheritance, love left to mourn?
What have we gained for the sacrifice made?
Must we continue to bleed?”
Lifetimes of slaughter and warring must cease.
I cannot leave till my seed is at peace.
Spirit of youth from the Coo-ee brigade –
I am too ancient to bleed.