Winter in Kyneton, cold but clear
Although the clouds gathered the weather held off.
A small group of us stood by the war memorial,
Some had red flowers
…a Flander’s poppy.
The magic of the old beauty case,
Spread its charm among those remembering.
WWI, Gallipoli, young Australians
Families at home waiting for news, for views.
Photo albums found their way back.
A reunion for a long lost relative,
The apple had fallen far from its branch.
Young people wondering,
Grey-haired folk researching
And old people remembering, sharing what they knew of the story.
Something started this wave,
A passion for answering questions increasingly unanswerable.
One became two and three and more.
They wanted to know
To see through the young soldier’s eyes, to feel him.
We sat in the RSL, thawing out with each other.
Marvelling over the bits we knew,
Puzzling over those we didn’t.
The four letter surname held us.
One hundred years after his death, his memory brought us together.
This poem is inspired by a family reunion. Writing Schicksal I often met dead ends, but in times of war, this is not always the case. Even the tragic loss of life can still give family valuable insight into the life, character, and experiences of those in battle.
It takes just one person with a passion for creating a positive wave, as this poem illustrates. We all seek our past to help us know who we are. The stories of oral tradition are fragile wisps of ether; perishable if not recorded.
Do your family a favour:
- Write a short family history
- Ask questions of the older generation while they are still well enough to remember and share
- Keep old photos in good repair
- Write on them, names, dates and relationships
- Ensure memorabilia returns to its rightful owners
- Make reunions a regular occurrence
- Visit each other and chat