Soldier's Wife by Myra Morris

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Home he has come from battles far away  
   Where he has heard Death breathing at his side,   
And out-paced Fear like some swift runner who,
   Labouring at first, speeds on with easy stride.
Home he has come with coloured tales to tell,
   But they remain untold; fencing, he parries   
Questions that fall like empty-sounding rain.
   "We did our job, no more," he says, and carries 
   Pride in his careful voice that outlaws pain. 

He is a stranger now -- a new dark man
   Entrenched behind the knowledge in his eyes. 
Dangers are thick between us that I could
   Not share -- hot, tropic seas, relentless skies. 
Rivers divide us. Look! I see him walk
   Down jungle-depths where writhing roof-trees fashion 
Macabre twilights starred with poisonous bloom.
   Here was a lad knowing joy and hope and passion -- 
Now a lost thing stalking and stalked by doom! 

Something is there that, was not there before.
   He is transmuted by experience   
Into a different clay: soft-edged is he  
   As yet, and vulnerable, without defence. 
I speak to him -- one moment he is there
   Then gone away (his haunted eyes all hollow, 
His memory linked with old, remembered, pain)
   Into some, fastness where I cannot follow. 
   He will not be entirely mine again.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 May 1943

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 1, 2014 8:29 AM.

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