By Chris McDonnell (Provided by Bridie Stringer)

Frail-featured face,
back bent over a metal walking frame
he came from the obscurity of many years
one hesitant step after another,
day following day, intent on purpose.

The neatly-knotted neck tie,
a strip of medals proudly on his chest,
he nudged a nation from forgetfulness
to thanks in time of anguish
encouraging the generosity of many gifts.

Then came the time of his own admission
when, gathered round the bed
his family said goodbye
holding a weakened skin-stretched hand,
hovering in blessing.

Casual passing thanks are not enough
for memory of one man’s courage,
a soldier’s war not fought with guns
but tested by thousands in Intensive Care
through long, hard days and night-time hours.

Something more permanent must follow
by way of thankful memorial to a man
of dignity who graced our present days and ways
And led us through hours of fragile hope
Confident that, after darkness, would come the sun.

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