Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems




From the George Bateman Collection, copiled by Howard Rose.


 Fort Meryiyoun

By Pte. "Jock" Bell


Oh Syria, ye land of mountains,

And many a stony track,

I'll be very pleased to leave you,

When in Aussie, I've landed back.

Oh yes, You'll always be a memory,

Always in my mind,

And my Pioneer Pals,

That I have left behind.


I'll never forget that morning,

The seventeenth of June,

The Pioneers went into action,

At Fort Meryiyoun.

You were all tired that morning,

And badly needed rest,

But you never grumbled,

I know you did your best.


To get that Fort and Legionairs,

Was your chief desire,

But Pioneers, you had no chance,

Against that deadly fire.

Yet, you played the game,

Pioneers, one and all,

Lying on that stony ground,

Crouched behind a wall.


To those of us that did return,

To God we offer thanks,

For Pioneers, we had no chance,

Against those Legionairs and tanks.

You know what I am thinking,

As I write such words as these,

How you returned from that Fort,

Came back, yes, on your hands and knees.


Yes, when I leave Syria,

I leave Australia's brave,

Along with a Pioneer Pal

In a lonely grave.

Oh, when I leave you Syria,

I'll leave with a pang of regret,

I'll leave Australia's heroes,

Australia should never forget.


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