Beyond 1915 Remembrance

Bonnie Goodfellow

So much spent,
spoken and aired,
these days on our
Anzac hundredth year.

Yet nothing in this flood
is near to first
necessary steps
of learning:

How to avoid
unnecessary wars.
How to disarm
worlds of difference.

Instead, we bulk up, warring;
and grow in militarism.
As if bearing arms helps us grow safe.

We delude ourselves.
We do not learn to listen.
We help ourselves
to cushioned life, made soft
on harsh deals with others.

An 80 year old –
quiet and respectful,
worldly-wise and worn by years,
said to me in 2015:

“Enough, surely, 100 years remembering.”
Yes, we must remember those lost,
left breathless, witless, legless,
without support.

Yes, remember; then forge better ways.
Reconcile to past inept days.
Find solutions, not war as first resort.
Instead, have we come to this:

All depends on joint
strike fighters and stealthy subs?
Our freedom pegged
on others having none?
Enough of budget balderdash.
Better to give one hundred bullion bucks
to strengthen global health.
Our aid, now:

like the “horribly thin” – “poor little thing” –
baby, thrown out
with the bathwater,
gone down the plughole?

Like them, I’ll not go quiet down that plughole
or into an eighth decade.
Instead, I’ll pour light and balm
on harm or loss we cause.

Remembrance, gilt in two-up: Not enough.
Remember and reconcile.
Don’t arm to the brink of a next phoney war.
Learn to live in peace.