Friday, 22 May 2015

Small Town Memorials

I was recently sent a copy of Geoff Page's  poem "Smalltown memorials" by someone who knows that for our "Every Town in NSW" project I had defined a town as somewhere with a War memorial.;

I thought it to be a very evocative work and Geoff has kindly agreed to my publishing it in this blog subject to including the attribution at the end of the work.

Smalltown memorials
by Geoff Page   
1975

No matter how small
Every town has one;
Maybe just the obelisk,
A few names inlaid;
More often full-scale granite,
Marble digger (arms reversed),
Long descending lists of dead:
Sometimes not even a town,
A thickening of houses
Or a few unlikely trees
Glimpsed on a back road
Will have one.

1919, 1920:
All over the country;
Maybe a band, slow march;
Mayors, shire councils;
Relatives for whom
Print was already
Only print; mates,
Come back, moving
Into unexpected days;
A ring of Fords and sulkies;
The toned-down bit
Of Billy Hughes from an
Ex-recruiting sergeant.
Unveiled;
Then seen each day —
Noticed once a year;
And then not always,
Everywhere. 

The next bequeathed us
Parks and pools

But something in that first
Demanded stone.

FromSmalltown Memorials, University of Queensland Press 1975' 

As many of the phases in the poem describe things we have seen and photographed I have compiled a set of images and posted them here.  That post also:

  • indicates where I took the photos; and
  • includes a few comments about, and images of, some development in memorials since 1975 (when the poem was published).

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