© Yvonne Harper, 2013

Winner 2013, Rolf Boldrewood Literary Award, Dubbo NSW.

Can you see the ghosts of Anzacs as they march across our land?
Can’t you hear them saying with one voice they had to make a stand?
Do you comprehend that Anzacs fought so we’d be safe and free,
to protect our land and aquifers from wilderness to sea?

Do you sometimes wonder what they’d think and say to us today,
if those Anzacs could be here with us to watch the greed at play?
For the enemy are miners taking swathes of our great land,
and when nothing’s left but desert, it’s too late to have mines banned.

It’s our Governments who’ve leased our land and sold the farmers out,
to immensely wealthy mining groups who wield enormous clout;
and the freedom once enjoyed by country folk to work their farm
has been undermined by ruthless forces causing grief and harm!

Where once farmers planted crops, now miners sow the fields with pipes,
that dot soul-less landscapes scarred by roads arranged in grid-like stripes.
And the open-cuts, deep shafts to hell, will haunt our land through time,
and the men who fought so we’d be free would label it a crime.

There’s escaping gas from wells on land and oil slicks on the sea,
yet in spite of this, the culprits act like shoppers on a spree;
as they seek new leases while involved with leaking, killer wells.
If our Anzacs had a voice today, we’d hear them say, “It smells!”

It is certain there’ll be damage caused by oil spills on the Reef.
As the rate of shipping rises there’ll be risks beyond belief.
There is much concern that ports are being planned to further trade
which will cause our fragile coast and its marine life to degrade.

With endangered species killed and habitats beyond repair,
how can people claim that farms and mines can co-exist and share?
But perhaps the bounty blinds the States to wilfully ignore,
all the sacrifices Anzacs made for freedom on our shore?

We’ve all heard about the mateship that sustained our fighting men.
On the battle front they saved each other time and time again.
With their stories told at services on every Anzac Day,
we’re reminded of their sacrifices we should not betray.

As our farmers do not own the coal and gas beneath their land,
like the Anzacs in the First World War, they are mounting a strong stand.
They are fighting for their right to farm on land that’s not debased,
and been scarified by mining that reduces ground to waste.

For our foe’s here in Australia not on Turkish battle lines,
in a homegrown war to rape our land; we can’t ignore the signs.
So communities have come together claiming as their right,
to be free to “lock the gate” and it’s the miners they must fight.

Yes, that Anzac Spirit lives again to march across our land.
It is giving voice to farmers who’ve combined to make a stand,
for they comprehend that Anzacs fought so we’d be safe and free,
to protect our land and aquifers from wilderness to sea.

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