David Campbell

(16 July 1915 - 29 July 1979 / Ellerslie)

Up North - Poem by David Campbell

Oh, Bill and Joe to the north have gone,
A green shirt on their back;
There are not many ewes and lambs
Along Kokoda track.

There are not many ewes and lambs,
But men in single file
Like sheep along a mountain pad
Walk mile on sweating mile;

And each half-hour they change the lead,
Though I have never read
Where any fat bell-whether was
Shot, in the mountains, dead.

The only sheep they muster there
Leap through the mind at night;
'Twould be as red as marking time
To change green shirt for white.

And though Bill dreams of droving now
On the drought-coloured plain,
There's little need to tap the glass
Or pray for it to rain.

They have no lack of water there
But there is a stinging tail,
For men lie dying in the grass
Along Kokoda trail.


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Read poems about / on: change, green, rain, red, water, night, time, dream



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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