The Last Wattle You Sent

The Last Wattle You Sent

Am awfully well mum.
Life…is…tiring but full of interest
and we get plenty of air,

and the glorious sunsets
would alone compensate
for everything mum.

The mountains are deep purple,
pale yellow or rose pink.
There is a wonderful bright star

in the east. I shall never forget
the suspense waiting for the boats
to come in during the night.

It was quite a relief to see
the shadowy form of a barge
laden with men.

The English Tommy was not free
at all. Poor things
even when they are fearfully ill,

they stiffen at the sight
of an officer and it’s
yes sir or no sir.

So many beautiful lives
being lost and nothing
to show for it.

Mum, you have no idea
what a cramped country
England is.

I long for space, freedom,
and nature in its wild state,
not make-believe like the woods here.

If only man hadn’t a hand
in everything the people would be
broader minded and less pompous.

Am weary of war and tragedies,
mum dear.
The last wattle you sent

was wonderfully fresh
and the scent so strong.
I love it, so did the others.

Source: Extracts from letters sent home by Sister Tev Davies who volunteered for service at the No 3 Australian General hospital in Lemnos and worked across the empire, including England during World War 1. Extracts courtesy of University of Monash, ‘World War 1: A History in One Hundred Stories’ and Futurelearn.

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