"I have never seen anything like the sallow faces and poor physique of the navy and army men who took part in the Jubilee display at Manly. We were all sickened by the sight," said Genereal H.W. Lloyd last week. It was a disgrace, he added, referring to "those weedy specimens," and Australians could not sneer at dictators who did so much for the youth of their various countries.
Here's a state of things, Memory still clings To the picture of a Digger, Hallowed and heroic figure Facing death in fields afar -- That unequalled avatar He of whom it had been said: "The bravest thing God ever made." Long and lean and loose of shoulder Graying now and growing older. Do these tall, tough men Vanish from our ken? Must they disappear for ever, Fighters all, if "soldiers" never? Gathered up from farm and city, Certainly they were not pretty -- Faces, rugged as a rock, Carven, from a red-gum block -- Anzaca who, unblooded still, Faced the hell of that first hill. Has this sturdy seed Given but a weed? Do frail forms and sallow faces Fill these big, bronzed warrior's places, So that generals are stricken At the sight of them, and silken? Has a pioneering nation Wilted in one generation, Needing a dictator's hand To uphold a weakening land? Moderate your grief. Might is not all beef. Fat and force may go together; So do strength and green-hide leather, And all heores are not made From the pick of the parade. Yet the warning must be heeded: Health is vital, training needed, That a nation's weal increase Be the issue war or peace.
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2008|