"Lest We Forget"

A Poem by Frank Brown©Frank Brown 1948

Last night as I lay sleeping
I had an awful dream-
I dreamt that I was back again
In nineteen-seventeen.

I could see the railway workers,
And thought it the grandest of sights,
To see such a body of workers
All striking ferr their rights.

And I came on strike with them;
But the boss came to me next day
And offered me promotion,
With a rise of four bob a day.

But now when I meet my old mates,
Men who would always lend me a bob,
They turn their heads and whisper,
"He took an old man's job."

I look at my little boy there,
Young and happy at play;
He doesn't care if I scabbed it,
But I wonder if he will some day.

Then as my dream goes onward,
It is nineteen thirty-seven;
My boy has grown to manhood,
And is the pick of Australia's Eleven.

He came to me this evening,
Such a look I had never seen;
As he asked, "Dad, what did you do
In nineteen-seventeen?"

For a moment I was dumbfounded,
He had taken my breath a way;
But I answered, "I stuck to the Government
And worked twelve hours a day."

Not another went was spoken,
He left me with bowed-down head;
I went to his room to call him,
And found him lying dead.

And there in a note he had written,
"I loved you dearly, dad,
But I couldn't live and be happy,
And know I was the son of a scab."

I awakened with the consolation.
It was only a silly dream;
But I'd give all I have to live again
Through nineteen-seventeen.


From Frank Brown's 1948 book "Engine 1174 and Other Verses"

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