Patrick Stafford of Gayndah wrote a touching poem about those left behind by the ANZACs.
Patrick Stafford of Gayndah wrote a touching poem about those left behind by the ANZACs. Felicity Ripper

Poem portrays pain of those left behind by Anzacs

INFLUENCED by those left behind by fallen Anzacs, Patrick Stafford put words to paper to tell an Anzac Day story.

It's not a personal account for the Gayndah local but a familiar story about the ramifications of war.

Mr Stafford wanted to portray the pain felt not only by our soldiers on the front line, but a different kind of pain felt by their loved ones.

A Rose for My Wife and a Hat For My Boy

I stopped at a small town west of Brisbane,

On the edge of town I stopped to walk around the headstones.

I walked around and checked each stone; some of babies, some of old women and men.

I came to a tree with a seat under it so I sat and looked over the headstones,

and spotted an old man sitting on the grass near two headstones.

He started to talk like he was talking to someone.

I watched for a bit.

I saw him put a hat on one and a rose on another.

The hat was soldier's,

from the first World War.

Then he started to cry so I walked over to ask if he was okay.

He looked up with tears in his eyes.

"Are you okay," I asked.

He said in a crackling voice, "I'm just talking to my family and I get a bit teary."

"It's my son's birthday today, he would be 53 if he lived. He was 17 years of age when he went to war in 1915. He came home in 1916.

"In a brown paper bag with his hat on top.

"My wife never got over it. I lost her in 1916, three weeks after my boy came home. I found her one morning swinging from a tree in a field at home.

"I sold the farm two weeks later and came into town to be with them. That was over 30 years ago now. I come and sit with them every day.

"I bring a rose for my wife and a hat for my boy."

I walk away thinking what it would have been like if my brother never came home from the Vietnam War.

Hear Mr Stafford read his poem below.