THE OLD DIGGER. riginal.
It was winter. The old man shifted painfully on the word-stained bench by the schoolyard. His one good eye lit up momentarily as the strident schoolbell rang and the students streamed homewards. A young boy broke away from his schoolfriends and ran towards the old man. "Hi pop!" "Hi! sonny." It was a familiar greeting. They both sighed.
The boy laughed, steaming nostrils and ruddy face turned upwards. He clapped his tiny hands together pressing them to his old friend's cheeks. Both recoiled in a mock shudder.
"Y'no son, I was young once." More laughter at this absurd statement. "Guess that did sound pretty silly son y'see I never did go to school much...never did much of anythin' but I was a damn good poet!" "Aw come on pop let's hear a poem." "Naah...you wouldn't want to listen." "Sure I would pop, sure I would!" The old digger sensed the urgency in the boy's voice. He coughed slightly and began.
"Many years ago I was just a lad. A war broke out a world gone mad. Fight we did young as we were, with bayonets fixed we never erred. We did our best with what we had. When the time came to leave we were mighty glad. With shell-shocked limbs our hearts uplifted...we trudged on home for we were gifted. Others lay in mud askew no rhyme nor reason for them to die. Only us left to pray and cry. Yees sonny...only us left to pray and cry."
Many years later. A young soldier stood before the simple headstone of the old digger. His bottom lip trembled as he knelt down and read the childish scrawl at the base of the headstone. 'Only us left to pray and cry'. As always the young soldier whispered..."I miss you pop...I MISS you pop!"
LEST WE FORGET.