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Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems

MOTHERS, DAUGHTERS, WIVES

The first time it was fathers;

The last time it was sons,

And in between, your husbands marched away with drums and guns;

And you never thought to question -

you just went on with your lives -

'cause all they'd taught you who to be was mothers, daughters, wives

 

You can only just remember the tears your mother shed

As they sat and read their papers through the lists and lists of dead.

And the gold frames held the photographs that mothers kissed each night

And the door frames held the shocked and silent strangers from the fight.

 

It was twenty one years later, with children of your own -

The trumpets sounded once again, and the soldier boys were gone,

And you drove their trucks and made their guns and tended to their

wounds,

And at nightyou kissed the photographs and prayed for safe returns.

And after it was over, you had to learn again

To be just wives and mothers, when you'd done the work of men.

So you worked to help the needy, and you never trod on toes,

And the photos on the pianos struck a happy family pose.

 

And then your daughters grew to women, and your little boys to men,

And you prayed that you were dreaming when the call-up came again.

And you proudly smiled and held your tears as they bravely waved goodbve -

And the photos on the mantelpieces always made you cry.

And now your getting older, and in time the photos fade;

And in widowhood you sit back and reflect on the parade

Of the passing of your memories, as your daughters change their lives,

Seeing more to our existence than just mothers, daughters, wives.

 

But the first time it was fathers;

And the last time it was sons,

and in between, your husbands marched away with drums and guns;

And you never thought to question -

You just went on with your lives -

'cause all they'd ever taught you who to be was mothers, daughters, wives.

 

And you believed them -

That there was nothing more

Than Mothers

Daughters

Wives.

 

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