Works in the Herald 1930

The threat of abolition of preference to soldiers has raised an instant and significant protest throughout Australia.

Say, was it a dream that you gave to a nation,
   Digger at war in the welter of France?
Was cupidity back of your self-immolation?
   Was it for greed that you gambled a chance?

Oh, the promises rained, and the parting was tearful
   When we raised cheers for “our noble young men:’
And the little men watching were vocal and fearful;
   But was it a dream that you gave to us then?

Is the dream vanishing, vain and unstable,
   Digger at peace in a work-a-day world?
Has the tale of your sacrifice grown to a fable,
   Scorned in a land where the banner is furled?

Digger grown old in the sad years that follow
   War’s hectic fever, the storm and the stress,
Count you the promises futile and hollow,
   Yielding but ashes and dull bitterness?

No sordid question of little men scheming –-
   Digger grown grey in the drab aftermath –-
Shall lessen the gift of that wonderful dreaming,
   Now you are treading on life’s downward path –

A dreaming of nationhood, glorious, splendid,
   A radiant gift so unselfishly planned –-
When the schemes of the little men long, long have ended,
   The Diggers shall live in the hearts of the land.

Herald, 6 May 1930, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003