We Tigers are part of a regimental family now numbering several generations which are the early parts of a continuum that will endure and grow as long as Australia maintains an Army. Anyone who has served in operations as a member of one or more of the Royal Australian Regiment’s battalions is part of a remarkable brotherhood which is well- favoured by fortune. Our Regiment’s reputation is widely acclaimed. It is a fame deeply rooted in the spirit and grand achievements of Australian Infantry battalions throughout our young Nation’s relatively short but intense involvement in world affairs. The following poem contemplates beneficial insights that derive from membership of that RAR brotherhood. It does so in the form of reflective musing by a long-time beneficiary. I hope it strikes a chord with both old and young.

Respectfully,
Ron Boxall

A REGIMENTAL REVERIE

In pockets of the mem'ry drifting from a dreamlike past,
Are long-outdated barracks where the fates of mates were cast;
'Mid hazy, heartening shadows — sights and sounds of bygone throngs —
We glimpse young sylphlike faces and hear soft their spoken songs.

Schemes of teamwork, told by players well-suited to our game
In a calm or fiercer cadence — both markers of our fame;
Part-faded scenes — in which the musing mind sometimes delves —
Of paths then bravely-trodden where we learned much of ourselves;
Stealing, nudging gently, come reminders quite sublime —
Embers of fiery days, and echoes from the vaults of time.

***

Yearning for our "roaring days", while again their depths we plumb,
Let's take time to splurge on ponder and spurn the muffled drum!
There is profit in recalling our days of  long ago —
Reviewing inmost feelings that we rarely deign to show.

Recollections paint mind pictures in hues both bright and sad,
They indulge our self-awareness; but that can't be all bad;
Long-familiar wraiths remind us of things that we had done
In some days when life was rough, and yet others that were fun;
We mourn mates who then passed — and bitter things that we had seen —
While nursing grateful notions of how lucky we had been.

***

Among the vaunted ones, while wearing Skippy's badge of brass,
Though few of the many, we were exemplars of our class!
Justly proud, we're also humble; our mentors had gone before,
Others came quickly behind us, and today there's even more.

The customs of our Regiment which stand the test of time
Are remembered by we ancients, as though still in our prime;
Reviving, spurring us onward, when things seem at their worst,
That old call of comfort, its simple motto "Duty First",
Grants that duty still is owed — by old men now "on the shelf"—
To Country, Family, Comrades and, not least, to one's own self.

 

@ Ron Boxall
21C D Company
1966-67

author: Ron Boxall

 

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