Worth their weight in gold

An  Email I received from a friend.  Just thought it was worth sharing:

He was getting old and paunchy

And his hair was falling fast,

And he sat around the R.S.L.,

Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in

And the deeds that he had done,

In his exploits with his mates;

They were heroes, every one.

And ‘tho sometimes to his neighbours

His tales became a joke,

All his mates listened quietly

For they knew where of he spoke.

But we’ll hear his tales no longer,

For ol’ Jack has passed away,

And the world’s a little poorer

For a Digger died today.

He won’t be mourned by many,

Just his children and his wife.

For he lived an ordinary,

Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,

Going quietly on his way;

And the world won’t note his passing,

‘Tho a Digger died today.

When politicians leave this earth,

Their bodies lie in state,

While thousands note their passing,

And proclaim that they were great.

The Media tell of their life stories

From the time that they were young,

But the passing of a Digger

Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution

To the welfare of our land,

Some smoothie who breaks his promise

And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow

Who in times of war and strife,

Goes off to serve his country

And offers up his life?

The politician’s stipend

And the style in which they live,

Are often disproportionate,

To the service that they give.

While the ordinary Digger,

Who offered up his all,

Is paid off with a medal

And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians

With their compromise and ploys,

Who won for us the freedom

That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,

With your enemies at hand,

Would you really want some cop-out,

With his ever-waffling stand?

Or would you want a Digger

His home, his country, his kin,

Just a common Digger,

Who would fight until the end?

He was just a common Digger,

And his ranks are growing thin,

But his presence should remind us

We may need his likes again.

For when countries are in conflict,

We find the Digger’s part,

Is to clean up all the troubles

That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honour

While he’s here to hear the praise,

Then at least let’s give him homage

At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline

In the paper that might say:

“OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,

A DIGGER DIED TODAY

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Published in Poetry & Stories

Comments

  1. waylander

    Heard that based in Australia (as above), in UK and USA. It matters not the country it purports to come from. All that matters is it’s central message.

    1. starlette Post author

      That’s just what I thought Way…….it was sent to me by a ozzy man, but it stands for everyone in the forces, man or women who fight to keep us safe……the government we shall pass on…lol.

      1. LoneRogue

        Unlike the politicians, this respectful poem is the kind of “homage” the “Diggers” of our world would appreciate.

        ***

        If we cannot do him honour

        While he’s here to hear the praise,

        Then at least let’s give him homage

        At the ending of his days.

        Perhaps just a simple headline

        In the paper that might say:

        “OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,

        A DIGGER DIED TODAY

      2. len1932

        I was in town awhile back and a man was walking ahead of me with a cane, Probably a war vet who was handicapped?. Every so often he would turn around and point his cane in some direction like a rifle like he was afraid someone was going to attack him. He did it 3 times in a city block distance, so he is really scared.

        1. starlette Post author

          Such a shame that these very brave men are left with such horrific memories……… I think back in the day it was referred to as being ” Shell Shocked “……..I’m thinking that today we refer to it as PTSD

    2. roseinbloom

      The Last two lines could be posted in as many places as possible. I don’t know what “digger” means so I need a US definition.
      I can guess it means soldier, but does it mean a certain kind of soldier.

      Sadly, a lot of the men were DRAFTED and had no choice, Naturally their service is still just as appreciated. When called, they served.

      1. LoneRogue

        It should be just as appreciated. We showed up and served our time and took our chances and didn’t run to Canada.

      2. starlette Post author

        Whatever they are called in different parts of the world, they all had one thing in common……..to keep their countries safe……….excepting for the odd countries today who are turning on and killing their own innocent people……..

        1. grandmaj

          After reading this poem, it stirred up some memories. I used to work in private and war veterans hospital. One ward was the psych ward, where all the war vets stayed . Lots with psych problems which is understandable. Some worse than others. The respect I had for these patients was and is more than I would for any other person on earth. I sat and listened to a lot of stories. Not so good stories, but I guess they wanted to talk about it, and yet others said not one word wanting to forget it, well not forget it as I dont think they could, but not talk about it at least. So thanks Star for this poem, and stirring up these memories of these brave people.

          1. starlette Post author

            When I was younger I never appreciated how brave these men and women are…….now I fully understand what they gave for their countries…….did they truly know the danger, sights and sounds they would face, I doubt it….how could they……..but something in them made them want to do their part for their country…….. I hear so many times that many don’t care to speak of what they went through, maybe to horrific to want to recall what they experienced, but I have no doubt it lives on in their head…..still paying the price…….Ma I’m sure you played a big part in their recovery, not least of all by taking the time to listen……..just a point in question…….did you find the ones that were able to talk about their experiences perhaps recovered more fully than the ones who kept it deep inside ??

          1. LoneRogue

            I quite sure he will. He is not a vet but knows well the sacrifices they make.

  2. grandmaj

    I dont know Star, I am far from and expert in this area. I guess they are all different and handle it in their own way. I cant even imagine what they went through for our countries. One man in particular who had been scarred severely with agent orange, had the best outlook on life despite what he had been through. I worked there for ten years and had seen him there on numerous occasions, numerous operations. And taking it all in his stride, being brave once again. Made one think of the little things in life we complain about. Puts everything in perspective.

    1. LoneRogue

      So right Grandmaj. We don’t get things like this from our media and we (all citizens of all countries) need this kind of message.

  3. starlette Post author

    It certainly does………..some people are very special, appreciate what they have, accept what comes with good grace, just get on with it….the real troopers……thank God for people like that……..don’t know what agent orange is……some kind of Acid maybe……

  4. grandmaj

    Agent Orange is an herbicide and defoliant chemical used by the U.S. Military as part of its herbicidal wafare program during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. Google will have a better explanation then me.

    1. roseinbloom

      Here in the USA, all Vietnam Veterans who have disabilities are given compensation. Some who have mental disabilities are 100% disabled. The veterans do not have to prove that they were in contact with Agent Orange or that the disability was caused by agent orange. I was at a Military reunion and the wives talked of the husband’s PTSD and other issues.

      1. starlette Post author

        Hi Rose, your country looks after your veterans really well, unfortunately that’s not the case in the UK……….but as of the last few years PTSD is at last being recognised……….lots of fund raising is being done to raise money and awareness of PTSD……….so many young men have taken their own life over the last few years after serving in the forces……..lets hope more help will become available for all who need it……

      2. grandmaj

        They get looked after here as well Roseinbloom, they dont have to be physically injured, they get looked after on return and so they should be. My point wasnt about getting looked after. It was just the respect I have for them, and doenst matter how they are looked after, doesnt stop the ptsd.

  5. Rockflower

    When I started nursing as a very innocent 17yr. old I was taught a lesson by an older sister.We had admitted to our ward an old,very dirty woman. Her clothes so rank we gagged on the smell. The police who brought her in told us she lived in a bomb site and turned tricks. Sister caught me telling another nurse she was just an old dirty prostitute. Sister took me in the office and said…Everyone has a story, this woman started off as a wee pink baby just as you did. You don’t know what she has gone through or indeed who she really is and until you do, you have no right to judge…. She was so right. I look at the old soldiers and so many did things they never knew they could, some had to do things the wished they had not had to do and all saw things that should not be seen. How ever humble they answered the call and we should honour them all.

    1. starlette Post author

      The saying comes to mind……..Walk a mile in my shoes……..we really don’t have a clue how or why people end up the way they do……….There but for the grace of God………its so easy to turn our noses up at tramps, beggars………ok, if you don’t want to give money cos your not sure how it will be spent, go in the nearest café and pay for a meal for the person on the street…..

  6. Rockflower

    Or even just acknowledge them Starlette, people tend to look through the street people as if they don’t exist. and give them a warm drink on a cold day as you suggest. A good idea is to have a pair of socks in your handbag…..every street person can always use fresh socks.

    1. starlette Post author

      All good ideas Rock……I know lots think some of the homeless are on drugs, but in many cases this is not so……..lots have left abusive homes as soon as they could……..and many ex soldiers are living rough, seems they are unable to settle back into society after having developed mental health issues after having served in the forces….

  7. vonMichael

    Hello Star, good morning,
    what do we need soldiers for? Humans have brains and they should make use of it to solve problems.
    To follow idiots like Hitler was and to give a life for him, that is more than idiotic. xxxM

    1. starlette Post author

      Hello Michael……….so many people are brainwashed……..just look at the brainwashed terrorists around today……..giving up their life for what…….Hitler and lots of other leaders were and are mentally insane, but people are only to willing to listen………….armies wouldn’t be needed if people could sort out their differences around a table, buts that’s never going to happen……..power is the personnel reward of the leaders……..the soldiers gain is nothing…..xxx

  8. grandmaj

    Back in the day, you didnt get a choice as to weather you served your country or not, you were drafted unless you had a Drs cert to say you couldnt. I thank all veterans for doing what they had to do and to serve my country. I would never disrespect a digger, but each to their own.

  9. rodger

    Thank you Starlette. Your poem brings to my mind another poem by Kipling about Tommy Atkins. You and Kipling seem to be of like minds.

  10. grandmaj

    Star, I am glad this poem came up again on here. Always good to read it again and remember these brave people. And appreciate them again, not just on Veterans days or Anzac day we have here, but everyday…