Editor’s note: The following poem is extracted from Jungle Warfare with the Australian Army in the South-West Pacific (published 1944).
What though the guns, whose shameless mouths
Hurl fierce obscenities of sound
Against my buttressed, sturdy side—
What though the slowly rising tide
Of green-clad men relentlessly
Creeps up — are not these little drops
Within the pool of Time; a dust
Upon the wind of centuries?
Their tracks have ploughed my fecund soil;
My trees they’ve lopped and shorn, my grass
They’ve burnt, or used to roof a hut.
But soon their book of life will shut,
Their little moment pass away,
While I—? The blessing of the rain
Will heal my wounds, and solitude
Reclaim for me what is my own.