Wednesday, April 25, 2018

ANZAC day dawn service

(Wellington 2018)

We, the pompous,
the curious,
the contracted, or honour bound,
gather like cows in the pre-dawn dark,
to remember things we have never known.

Uncertain, and unsure of procedure
Like those being slaughtered on beaches long ago
We watch ourselves awkwardly on TVs
Mumbling the catechism, singing hymns
Following the prescribed rituals
Of the shiny funeral directors in uniform.

They speak of courage, of service and duty
Of those blind, led by the blind, into the
Impossible meat grinder of pain and screaming.
They speak of peace, and loss, and sons,
they who would repeat it all tomorrow
If only civilisation would lose its grip
let them slip, joyful, into darkness.

Beneath this phallic monument
pink in the morning light.
We gather, uncertain about one thing:
The measure of a generation's manhood.
And I wonder why we men
haven’t grown up yet.