6th August
by Arthur Leggatt

Some of you young folk sicken me
When you survey the past from here – today.
Ignoring history as it was,
The part us old blokes had to play.

Have you not heard of nurses
Herded out into the water
Then machine-gunned for no reason
But indifferent, callous slaughter?

Have you all forgotton scenes
From The Railroads murderous toil?
The starving mob in Changi Gaol?
The dead on Ambon‘s soil?

Let me tell you who they were,
These ulcer-ridden shapes.
Kicked and tortured – bashed to death.
They were my teenage mates!

The chaps whom I played cricket with
Or swelled the football’s cheers.
We sailed our yacht upon The Swan,
Laughed together. Drank our beers.

Have you forgotton Darwin town was bombed?
Broome and Wyndham wrecked?
New Guinea nearly over-run?
Forgotten who was next?

The Invader pounded at the door!
Reached out with yellow hand
To raze my city, rape my kin
And take my native land!

Now you cry for the vanquished
Shout “Shame” with great aplomb.
Condemn my generation
And its immoral atom bomb.

A wars a bloody awful thing
In which Man murders Man.
Yet, fifty years along Life’s Track,
No one gives a damn!

But before you weep for the enemy
And mourn his tragic cost,
Sit down and quietly ask yourself,
“My God! What if we’d lost?”