Thursday, 25 April 2013

how to clean a bugle

today is April 25th,
the day on which the Last Post is blown all over the country
as Australia pauses for silence to remember 
those who gave their lives in service of the country. 

wars fill me with horror.
my great-grandfather died on December 10, 1914.
it was the day after my grandfather's birthday

but when i rustled up our bugle this morning
thinking i might let loose a mournful note in memory
it was filthy and housing a number of unfriendly arachnids
clearly something had to be done


now the bugle is nice and shiny
thanks to the helpful acidity of the eucalyptus leaves

 i have a wrap i can hide in
 become a stone among trees

and the bugle yields a much more beautiful note
[Kowhai doesn't care she's too busy digging]

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
 Laurence Binyon

+   +   +

and in the remembering, bear in mind
the words of another poet, Charles Causley
who wrote

O war is a casual mistress
And the world is her double bed.
She has a few charms in her mechanised arms
But you wake up and find yourself dead.

                             (‘A Ballad For Katharine Of Aragon’)


  1. oh my (sigh) sweet and sorrowful sighs and bugle calls

  2. As a Mum of a young man, I can't imagine the very long, long, wait to hear if my boy was coming home in one piece. Lest we Forget.

  3. I just recently joined your blog following, and I'm so glad I did. Your posts are always interesting and informative and I find myself captivated by the beauty of the land in which you live. So beautiful and so very different from where I live. Thank you for sharing.

  4. your presence was in my dyepot this week...the scent of eucalyptus, leaves from a year ago, but oh, they bring up all of it, australia, you, marion, roz, trace, naomi, elephant, aki, all my students, all those amazing folk i've left off this list, and that scent, those trees! but in all my born days, india, i never thought to bundle a bugle! you are wonderful!

    1. less elbow grease required than when using brasso [and smells better]
      and the tone of the instrument has been substantially improved.

      that said, i'm NOT about to boil my sax.

    2. i should hope NOT. a different creature, altogether.

  5. Eye of newt and toe of frog, bugle of brass and sax of frass.

  6. Wow! Those marks are magical and the bugle too..