After reading that Shepheard’s Hotel welcomed British Army Officers but not ordinary troops, I thought of this poem that my father wrote. These are his thoughts after an attempt to indulge in a few drinks in a cabaret. The poem is several pages long; here are three of the verses. My transcriptions appear below the images.
Seven Days’ Leave
The digger grinned as he heard his name
They were dishing out the pays,
Next thing, he gave a hearty shout,
He’d got leave for seven days.
That night for him was sleepless,
He couldn’t help but think
If he’d see the sights of Egypt,
Get in a game or drink.
About the town of Tel Aviv
He wandered for a while,
Looking for a lair-up pub
Where he could spend his pile.
He came across a cabaret
But ’twas “For Officers Only”,
He felt a little homesick then,
Almost a little lonely.
A man’s got a ton of bloody dough
And can’t get a bloody drink.
“For bloody officers only” thought he,
Wouldn’t it strike you bloody pink.
After hours of solid searching
And of pests all out to sell
He came across a cobber,
“With him”, he’d been thru hell.
There’s no real sun in my city today. Just clouds. So I searched through my father’s poetry book; here’s the beginning of a poem about the merciless sun that Australians often live under. The poem is attributed to M.A.N., 1941; the illustration is by Ron Bruce.
A few poems in the anthology are copies of other soldiers’ work. Several are written by girlfriends and wives left back in Australia. They always express hope that they’ll see their men again, as in these two verses:
Like this week’s photo challenge, the following poem and its miniature illustration also have a peaceful theme. My father was in the Middle East in 1941 thinking about the sun rising in his home country. I give you the first of four stanzas.