THE ONES THAT KNOW ~ W.A. McKay
DEDICATED TO SGT. E. RUPERT, OF MELFORT
Died of wounds, 20July, 1943 at Age 21
It’s a road that we’ve travelled together
The trail leads back twixt the terraced hills,
A ribbon of dusty tract.
White in the light of the moon it lies
Twisting and winding back.
While the years have slipped away
And it’s hard to believe that the end of the trail
Came for you, Buddy, today.
At the end of the moon-bathed valley
Where the billowed mountains toss,
The trail winds back through a dim seen cleft
Under the Southern Cross.
Back through the desert lowlands
Where the dust lies thick and white,
And it’s hard to believe that we’re not going on
Together, Buddy, tonight.
When first we chose to travel
The Trail that led us here,
I remember the cheers and the shouting,
The bands and the flags-and the beer.
But tonight, in this moon-drenched valley
Where your Trail has ended today,
There is only a Peace, a Stillness,
And I think it is better that way.
I know that we planned it different,
There were things we were going to do.
Adventure. New worlds to conquer.
And maybe a medal or two.
And then at the end of the journey
Back to the crowds and the roar,
Cheering us back from the battle
As they cheered us to it before.
Oh yes, we had planned it different
When the trail was fresh to our feet.
How after the dust of the battle
The praises and cheers would be sweet.
But here in the star-studded stillness
Though never a bugle may blow,
There are those who pay silent tribute,
And these are The Ones That Know.
What are the cheers and the praises
That strangers may hold in store
Compared to the silent tribute
Of the men that know the score?
Of the men that have travelled with you?
Though they leave you here today,
It is they who will remember
When the cheering dies away.
And so, though we leave you, Buddy,
Here by the side of the Trail,
Though it leads us on a thousand miles
Your memory will not fail.
You are one of us still, and Buddy,
Though the years may come and go
You will travel along with us just the same
And we are The Ones That Know.
~ Sicily, 20. July, 1943.
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