Lest We Forget by Janey Mac

Lest we forget

Another ANZAC day has passed,
attended by a sullen crowd
bovine before a dead wreath monument.
Sanctimonious blathering spoken loud
into the breaking day until, at last,
the posturing done, the righteous went
away, heading home – or better yet –
the pub. Lest we forget.

Every day a song-bird dies,
crushed beneath a towering rage
of impotence and accumulated hate.
Somehow, the castle is a rusted cage
in which the battered song-bird lies,
the victim of a callous cruel mate
who sees his partner as some tethered pet,
to pamper or to punish – lest she forget.

Each year, men remember men.
They gather in their heroes’ bands
to cry pathetic tears, then
they behave as comradeship demands
and tell tall tales that resurrect
the sorry myths of sorry lives – lest they forget.

A woman dies at home each day,
murdered at her partner’s hand.
Society turns its head away,
or buries it beneath the sand;
domestic death lacks war-like glory,
lacks Wilfred Owen’s ‘pro patria mori’.

For men, perhaps it may be said,
‘dulce et decorum est’.
Forgotten women, though, are dead
lest you forget the rest.