When ASOPA PEOPLE published the poem ‘Anzac on the Wall’ on Anzac Day, we set off a chain reaction amongst readers, who are still accessing the poem on the website two weeks later. I’ve been in touch with the poet, Jim Brown, and here’s the story of how the poem came to be written - KJ.
The story behind the Anzac on the Wall is that I was a TV journalist and, in 1990, went to Gallipoli to cover the 90th anniversary of the Anzac landing.
Before I went, I visited the Military archives in Canberra looking for photos for a documentary film, and a lovely old man put a cardboard box in front of me which contained letters written to and from the war front. The letters could not be identified, and therefore could be returned to the families.
I made notes at the time and later in life became a bush poet. The trigger for the poem was the photograph of the Anzac on the Wall, which I have in my possession and carry it with me when I perform the poem. The photo led me to incorporate the information I had gleaned from the letters. The suffering of those waiting at home had not been written about enough, and time and again it seemed that those close to the land knew the very instant they had lost a loved one on the other side of the world. From those letters I wrote about the lightning storm, the horse bolting etc.
I am humbled by the fact that so many people have been moved by the poem, especially around Anzac Day.
I have recorded the poem on CD, with other Australian classic and original poems. The cost is $25 which includes postage etc.