Gunner Dan - Poem by Terry Dawson
Young fresh-faced lads just like our dads,
By mail are called to arms.
And we set out, some glad some sad
From cities, mines and farms
And become lean and strong and sure
As trained we are in art of war
And gone for good that callow lad.
The plan is made the ambush laid
Invisible we lurk
Concealed by craft and grassy blade,
Prepared for lethal work.
But now we wait and wait and wait
Till on ninth day in morning late
Comes terror much delayed.
Some shots ring out, an urgent shout
Something about the right...
As din and tumult fill the air
Onward us young men fight.
We hardly know the gods to thank
In this desperate afray -
Our plucky gunner's turned their flank;
The fighting goes our way!
Thank god for Dan who makes a plan
That gets us out of strife!
When sudden comes a mighty sound -
Choppers whirl overhead.
Their cannons roar in grim downpour
Upon disheartened foe.
But from the hill there's shooting still...
A direct charge, no one prefers -
Nevertheless we try it.
But even as we win the day
Disquieting thought occurs:
Why has our gun gone quiet?
The simple cross bears honoured name
Upon the tarnished brass.
Below a smaller script proclaims
How this end came to pass.
That Dan a fighting worrier bold
Was ever spared from growing old
As legend he became!
And every year from then till now
On the appointed date
We gather to remember how
The working of blind fate
Let our hearts beat but took our friend
Honour and glory without end
To you brave gunner Dan.
As natures wonders fill the soul
With reverence and with awe
Our comrades, you who paid the toll
In awful time of war
Stir in our hearts an awesome pride
Our kin, our friends as may betide
Honoured for evermore!
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