Lest We Forget

My mother tells me my grandfather was one of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

That’s all I know of the story so far, apart from what is in the Australian War Memorial Records, and written by the army or historians.

There is so much history that could have been written but might forever be lost.

So we search for fragments in the often faded memories of those relatives who spoke to the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

Must we then imagine their stories from these spoken fragments, public records, and photographs, where so many faces seem to be from the village of my grandfather.

Will some historians who want written records, and identify verification from the photographs, discount our hand-me-down fragments and pieced together tales?

I am touched when a friend of mine says her grandfather was an Australian on that trails.

Maybe our grandfathers met each other.

We will never now.

Malolo was a Fuzzy Wuzzy angel.

He was my bubu (grandfather)

Lest we Forget.

 

For more information

https://www.awm.gov.au (photographs in the public domain)

https://www.army.gov.au/our-history/history-in-focus/fuzzy-wuzzy-angels

http://www.kokodaspirit.com.au/the-fuzzy-wuzzy-angels/

http://kokoda.commemoration.gov.au/four-peoples-at-war/new-guineans-at-kokoda.php

http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/asfaras/angels.html

 

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

 

Many a mother in Australia
when the busy day is done
Sends a prayer to the Almighty
for the keeping of her son
Asking that an angel guide him
and bring him safely back
Now we see those prayers are answered
on the Owen Stanley Track

For they haven’t any halos
only holes slashed in their ears
And their faces worked by tattoos
with scratch pins in their hair
Bringing back the badly wounded
just as steady as a horse
Using leaves to keep the rain off
and as gentle as a nurse

Slow and careful in the bad places
on the awful mountain track
The look upon their faces
would make you think Christ was black
Not a move to hurt the wounded
as they treat him like a saint
It’s a picture worth recording
that an artist’s yet to paint

Many a lad will see his mother
and husbands see their wives
Just because the fuzzy wuzzy
carried them to save their lives
From mortar bombs and machine gun fire
or chance surprise attacks
To the safety and the care of doctors
at the bottom of the track

May the mothers of Australia
when they offer up a prayer
Mention those impromptu angels
with their fuzzy wuzzy hair.

By Bert Beros

Can be found at http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/asfaras/angels.html

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Hand and Family Crafted

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For Temily and Sal

A hand crafted wedding,
where the family and friends all help
where there are no veils
where there is a top hat
where there are bush flowers
where there is a cake made by the groom, decorated by the bride
where hospitality and love are wrapped
around every guest gathered in this forest.

A hand crafted wedding
with a chalked up flourished welcome sign
with hundreds of paper cranes like rainbow bird stars
with a piano outside on the veranda
with home made bunting
with people bringing pots of rice and other foods
with tiny bubble blowers that
send circular rainbows
into the air
with love.

Serenades for the couple
from the piano
from the violin
from the guitar
from the voices raised in song and prayer
from family and friends
under the cranes that become
like rainbow bird stars
for a marriage where
there are no veils
this is the way this marriage begins.

(c) June Perkins

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The days of porridge – draft1#

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Rocks for Art and Dreams – June Perkins

The first draft of this piece is the outflow of the emotion of memory.  Next I want to write it  more in a way that shows not tells.  In this draft I like the way the porridge motif works and will think about metaphors and myths around magic porridge pots perhaps.

Remember the days when we survived on porridge and rice
and friends sometimes bought us groceries unasked
to make sure we didn’t go hungry
both of us students
with young children
striving for our qualifications
to move ahead with our lives
under thirty we were.

We even spent short stints living with friends
and family
as we searched for affordable accomodation
who only asked that one day
when we were better off
that we passed it along
and shared that they had once
lived in the days of surviving on porridge
and rice perhaps with a splash of lentils.

Why do I remember these days now?

Perhaps it was the news last night
about the homeless
who are out on the streets
for mental illness
or substance abuse or even just
bad luck and a lost job and
who if someone like Mission Australia breaks the cycle
gives them a letter box
and a home
and helps them clean up their lives whilst in the
home
– move forward.

Perhaps its the memory of soup kitchens
that fed students
on the poverty line
who couldn’t afford the refectory food
and who sought to sleep in the library’s
warmth until it closed.

-I am sure that this still goes on

Because not everyone at university has a regular income
or parents who can, or want, to support them.

– I was thankful for my weekend kitchen hand job.

Maybe it is the couple who
homeless in their car
tried to heat it up
and accidentally died when
their ingenuity went wrong.

Thinking about how tricky it can be from seventeen to twenty one
as you build your life, often away from family
seeking an education and beginning to build your own friendships and family
-reminds me of the days of porridge and rice
where love was the main thing
that kept us warm
and the fuel that kept us going.

We could imagine our food tastier
wear our shoes until the holes made it impossible
and in parts of Queensland even go
barefoot if need be

-it was so warm

and rocks were like treasure
to paint into sneaker gifts for friends
with  a small amount of paint and some
tippex we
could even make thankyou gifts.

Now the pantry is full
but I am looking for a return to more stable work
after spending time concentrating on raising the children
and doing so much community work

I don’t want to return to those days of porridge
but rather help those in the days of porridge
achieve their dreams

(c) June Perkins