A. C. Eason

 

Sergeant A. C. Eason served with the South African Army. Following Italy's surrender, he was transported to Germany and was held at Stalag 357.

 

Smile, you Sinners, Smile

Thanks to Nola Muller. This poem was published in P.G. 54's newspaper, "Glumpet 54" on the 25th April 1943.

 

Never lose that Golden Gift
of Laughter! – and a smile,
your captors have the upper hand
But only for a while!

 

Deep within your stalwart heart
Keep the Flame of Hope awake!
Your body – may be they confine
But! – your spirit they can’t break!

 

Things are bound to turn out right
and sunshine you can find!
If your thoughts dwell on your loved ones
In the land you left behind.

 

So don’t forget to take that smile –
and laughter – home with you
After all our folk’s anxiety
It’s the least that you can do!

 

For it shows folk – that in spite of all
You may suffer and endure –
You’re a man – whose sterling manliness
stood the “acid test” of War!

 

 

Way Out in the Blue

Thanks to Nola Muller. Written at Fort Capuzzo, June 1942.

 

The City throbs with the pulse of life
With commerce and industry ever at strife
With hustle and bustle and traffic roar,
Far from the distant sound of war!
The Parks are all draped in their Floral Gown,
And peace prevails in the old hometown
The bombers roar, and the sirens moan
Are things, thank God, that are quite unknown.

 

But way out here in the Distant blue
There is a living Hell which men go through.
As day by day, and night by night,
They’re locked in the grip of the Worlds worst fight.
As courageously striving they stagger and reel
To ward off the menacing Nazi heel
To spare all the loved ones they have left behind
From the rape and bondage they have in mind.

 

Yet down in the City if you seek you will find
Those who have chosen to stay home behind.
Watching the fight on a silver screen,
Sipping their whisky – calm and serene.
Reading their papers – discussing the news,
Laughing and joking – and airing their views,
Sleeping each night in a cosy, warm bed
While their fellowmen crash to the Desert, stone dead.

 

Out in the Desert, shrouded in sand
Death swings his scythe with an unerring hand
Reaping the Harvest so awful and grim
Which Germany, long ago, promised to him.
That harvest of youth on the threshold of Life
All trapped in the man-of titanic strife.
Your husbands, your sweethearts, and also your sons,
Gallantly fighting and manning the guns.

 

Yet down in the City if you seek you will find
Those who have chosen to stay home behind.
Where there is sport at each week end, in white flannel pants;
And a cinema show – or maybe a dance
At which, holding you close, in un-uniformed arms,
They whisper vanities – talk of your charms.
Speak of their love and their loyalty to you
As long as it keeps them well out of the Blue.

 

While borne on the crest of a ghastly tide
Death goes around with arrogant stride
Whispering the name of someone you love
As stukas scream down from the sky high above.
To shower their bombs with murderous aim
On the men they’ve been sent out to kill and to maim
Leaving them lying in a dark pall of smoke
To bleed and to cry out – to die and to choke.

 

Still in the City if you seek you will find
Those who have chosen to stay home behind
Stout hearted fellows – with hearts of pure gold;
Gold which is yellow – for so we are told.
Eager to share in the Peace Victory brings, 
Claiming their right to life’s precious things,
Proud of the fact they had nothing to loose
Theirs was the choice, and this did they choose.

 

When the battle is over and victory been won
when the Hell and the carnage and gunfire is done
When homeward they march, those fortunate few,
To pick up the threads of the life they once knew
How well they will know as they march down the street
Which echoes the tramp of their military feet
That the value they place on their homeland and you 
Was settled and paid for out there in the Blue.

 

Settled and proved, far beyond any doubt;
By they and their comrades who proudly set out.
Who suffered the agony – torture and pain
Of War in the Desert and tropical plain.
Of hunger and thirst and blistering sun;
Who grimly and doggedly “stuck it” and won;
To prove to the world, and their God high above
That its you above all on this Earth that they love.
Still down in the City, seek! and you will find.
Those who have chosen to stay home behind.