BACKWARD GLANCE – Poem from Somme 1917

Sunshine Coast Council

On 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare. This conflict had mobilised more than 70 million people and left between nine and 13 million dead. Today, the loss of Australian lives from all wars and conflicts is commemorated on Remembrance Day.

This poem was written just before going into the firing line on the Somme in 1917 by the “Coolum Anzac”, J Jolly.


I picture clear those grand pines growing

Towering mystic to the sky

Through long leaves the wind is blowing

Rustling through the branches high.

Dewdrops on the wattles glistening

Bejewel the gold of each bright ball

Hark, I strain my ears and listening

Hear afar the coach whip’s call

Other songbirds sweetly singing

Mid fragrant blossoms and flowers fair

O’er embankments climbing, clinging

Exhaling perfume everywhere

I see well too yon sweeping landscape

Though with closed eyes, I dream

and sigh

For soon my farewell must I take

And bid these all a long goodbye

Farewell, my native land, farewell

An if I see thee never more

No other mortal tongue shall tell

What reverent love to thee I bore

To all loved ones I breathe goodbye

We know not who go forth to fall

Regrets are futile, do not sigh

For God is watching over all.

Lest we forget

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

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