of interest

Over the years , John Laws Derryn Hinch and 'Australia All Over' have read out Bill's poems and other ABC shows like John Reid's Poets Corner have published many.

Bill Dettmer has written other works related on this site. See our poetry section in the contents above.

 

 

THEY ARE MARCHING


© W. J. Dettmer


They are marching once again, pressing forward as the rain beats
Softly down upon their shoulders up the wet and slippery way
There's a soldier standing waiting high and lonely in the wind
Bugle ready for his moment on this very special day

And marching there beside them are the spirits of their comrades
Sons who fell to foreign bullets and succumbed to cold or ill
Daughters too who served the sovereign, giving all to god and country
While their bones lie lost, forgotten on some distant countries hill

They are old and weak and feeble, joints that creak and hearts that flutter
Bones that once were strong enough to carry young men off to war
And though some tell of sights and sounds to make your body shudder
There are some who'll hold until they die, the horror that they saw

And oh the things they saw

They are slowing down, forgetful, numbers dwindle every year
As another soldier falls each day when natures will dictates
They go back to join their comrades where they boil the old black billy
Squatting down to share a cigarette with young but long dead mates

It was different long ago when so many men and women marched
Along this same grey roadway to the stirring drums and pipes
When their medals flashed so brightly and the thousands on the footpaths
Looked in awe at brass and leather, polished shoulder pips and stipes

When the babies came in thousands and the wives stood by delighted
At the thought of having husbands back from fighting cross the seas
Mums and dads with tears upon their cheeks to see those children home again
And me and you in awe as well upon our mother's knees

I's me now who is tearful as I watch these old parading heroes
Marching down the road once more with medals on their chest
It's you who looks upon the flock to see behind the faces
What they once were like when they were young and giving it their best

There's a kid who's got a picture of his uncle or his granddad
There's a young girl wearing medals holding proudly father's hand
There's a soldier sitting quietly saluting at the telly
While he watches comrades marching to the beating of the band

And they shall not be forgotten on the 25th of April
Though there will be one day soon when none partake in the parade
As the sun sets we'll remember what they did for you and I
And we'll remember too the things they did and sacrifices made

They will grow old and leave us as their mates have done before them
They'll not be round forever sons of Anzac and Tobruk
Though their memories and names will live beyond their earthly time
Carved in stone and song and poetry, in legend and in books.

As we grow old and take our fathers places in the marching
As our sons and daughters go to war, as go once more they will
A poppy blooms in Anzac cove. A wreath is placed where heroes lie
A bugler waits preparing on some dark and distant hill.