Thursday, March 29, 2012


Concert Party (Egyptian Base Camp)
-- Siegfried Sassoon

They are gathering round....
Out of the twilight; over the grey-blue sand,
Shoals of low-jargoning men drift inward to the sound—
The jangle and throb of a piano ... tum-ti-tum...
Drawn by a lamp, they come
Out of the glimmering lines of their tents, over the shuffling sand.

O sing us the songs, the songs of our own land,
You warbling ladies in white.
Dimness conceals the hunger in our faces,
This wall of faces risen out of the night,
These eyes that keep their memories of the places
So long beyond their sight.

Jaded and gay, the ladies sing; and the chap in brown
Tilts his grey hat; jaunty and lean and pale,
He rattles the keys ... some actor-bloke from town...
God send you home; and then A long, long trail;
I hear you calling me; and Dixieland....

Sing slowly ... now the chorus ... one by one
We hear them, drink them; till the concert’s done.
Silent, I watch the shadowy mass of soldiers stand.
Silent, they drift away, over the glimmering sand.


Still dashing around not getting anywhere fast.  Right from the word go in the morning the race is on.  Trudging over hill and dale in a most undignified fashion to walk to work from a distant car park.  I found a raised mound over a gully/drain to teeter over instead of the usual hazardous uneven tussocks of grass.  I'm forging my own goat track.  It's a twice daily adventure.  I hum as I walk.  Those old piano medleys glide about in my head.  I suspect this derelict public site will be ripe for development one day and Canberra's skyline will become a dense thicket of highrise buildings.  I should enjoy it while it lasts. The children's piano tunes will also be a distant memory one day too.  So while I grumble, I also pause in gratitude. 

Photo. St John's Anglican Church, Reid, Canberra, Australia.  By me.


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