By Terence Dingwall. Doonside, NSW

In every battle that was ever fought
One side’s hopes have come to nought
The fields are strewn with those who died
For death has scattered them far and wide

For a few more hours peace has come
With the long slow sink of setting sun
Peace has come to Friedrich and Fred
Is this piece Friedrich’s, or is it Fred’s?

Laying there in awkward poses
Bodies pierced with blood red roses
Who will come in the cloak of night
To bury those lost in honour bright?

They bury them fast to hide the smell
Of those re-exhumed by bomb and shell
We must learn a lesson from the past
That there is no rest while battles last

Some men lived and some men died
Death delivered no matter your side
It’s the victor’s job on the battlefield
To clean up the mess that their weapons yield

There is no pausing for a eulogy
No time to pray while the bugles bray
In the coming day you can’t hold your breath
For friend and foe share the smell of death

When old soldiers tell us their stories
How they fought for honour and glory
So who were those who used the night
To clear the stage for the next day’s fight?

There are no medals for that awful task
Few choose to remember, fewer will ask

Terence Dingwall’s books include The Tome of Ding and The Tome of Ding – Poetry.

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