Up North


David Campbell

1949



Oh, Bill and Joe to the north have gone,
A green shirt on their back;
There are not many ewes and lambs
Along Kokoda track.

There are not many ewes and lambs,
But men in single file
Like sheep along a mountain pad
Walk mile on sweating mile;

And each half-hour they change the lead,
Though I have never read
Where any fat bell-whether was
Shot, in the mountains, dead.

The only sheep they muster there
Leap through the mind at night;
'Twould be as red as marking time
To change green shirt for white.

And though Bill dreams of droving now
On the drought-coloured plain,
There's little need to tap the glass
Or pray for it to rain.

They have no lack of water there
But there is a stinging tail,
For men lie dying in the grass
Along Kokoda trail.




David Campbell served in the Royal Australian Air Force from 1939 to 1945, serving in the South Pacific, he reached the rank of Wing Commander and received the Distinguished Flying Cross with bar.



Fire of the Southern Cross: A Collection of Poetry for Australian Nationalists

Australian Nationalism Information Database - www.ausnatinfo.angelfire.com/~natinfo