Veterans’ villanelle


It changed him as father, as a son
the day we went to war, became Allied.
She left behind a daughter, almost one.

He joined up with his mates. The training done
his brothers shook his hands; his mother cried.
It changed him as a father, as a son.

No room for error when she cleaned a gun
– not like the bloke who cocked-up, later died.
She left behind a daughter almost one.

That death’s the first he’d seen. Wanted to run
away. He’d said he was OK. He lied.
It changed him as a father to his son.

She Skyped her partner daily. Knew they’d grown
apart. This new life’s too hard to describe.
She left behind a daughter just turned one.

Survived a six-month tour: they’re coming home
with post-traumatic counselling supplied.
It changed him, as a father, to his son.
She left behind a daughter just turned one.

Virginia Jealous

Author: Virginia Jealous

Virginia Jealous is a writer whose work includes travel journalism, essays and poetry. She’s written many guidebooks for Lonely Planet, is a freelance contributor to the Weekend Australian and is published in a range of newspapers, magazines and journals. Her most recent collection of poetry and prose, Hidden World, emerged from an Asialink writing residency in India in 2012 and was published by Hallowell Press in 2013. Virginia lives out of a suitcase and on the road when not at home in Denmark, Western Australia.