Poetry - Tiger Battalion


I've travelled down some lonely roads,
Some crooked tracks and straight;
And I've learned life's noblest creed,
Summed up in one word ... "Mate."

I've been thinking back across the years,
A thing I do of late;
And this word sticks between my ears,
You have got to have a mate.

My mind goes back to the '60s,
The good times and the hate;
When man's one chance to stay alive,
Depended on his mate.

With a pannikin for a billy can,
And dixies for a plate;
A bamboo thicket full of bugs,
Was bed for me and my mate.

You would slip and slither through the mud,
And curse your rotten fate;
But then you'd hear a quiet word,
"Don't drop your bundle mate."

And though it's all so long ago,
The truth I have to state;
A man don't know what 'lonely' means,
Until he's lost a mate.

If there's a life that follows this,
If there's a 'Golden Gate';
The welcome that I want to hear,
Is just, "good on ya mate."

And so all who ask us why,
We keep these special dates;
Like Long Tan and Anzac Day,
I answer ... why? We're thinking of our mates.

And when I leave the driver's seat,
And hand in my plates;
I'll tell old St Peter at the door,
I've come to join me Mates.


© Rod Kenane
A Company Vietnam 1st Tour

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