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An Old Man Died Last Night - by Robert Gorrie

An old man died in a Nursing Home last night

Alone in his room, nobody was there

The carers found him in the morning, all cold and white

They closed his eyes and combed his hair

Placed the sheet gently over his head

Put his pitiful belongings at the foot of the bed

The old photo of Mary that he kissed every night

They threw in the bin, but it didn’t feel right..

They didn’t pause to reflect on his life

He was nothing special, not famous at all

But he was a boy once, riding to school on his horse

At 16 for the Mother country, joined the Imperial Force

Not once did he mention the horrors he saw

The German soldier he shot was a burden he bore

And then in the trench on a fine summers day

A big shell came over, blew his six mates away

The shrapnel in his leg he carried for life

It played up Old Harry gave him nothing but strife

So they sent him home and they gave him some land

Sixty acres of rocks, lantana and sand

So he laid down some pipes and watered his farm

Lived on tea, damper and rabbit, it did him no harm

He met Mary at church on another fine summers day

Married her quickly, five kids came their way

Two daughters died early, buried up on the hill

His boys on Kokoda are lying there still

And Molly left early, as soon as she could

He awaited her return, but she never would

Mary died young too, just faded away

From a broken heart, he always would say

So rest in peace digger, you’ve earnt that for sure

When your country asked you went to the fore

Say hello to Mary, your kids and your mates

As you are whisked through those heavenly gates


2010 Australia

Robert Gorrie


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