Alan Jones celebrates poetry of war

Legends of the Anzacs coin collection0:40

The Royal Australian Mint has produced a limited edition Legends of the Anzacs: Medals of Honour coin collection, featuring four “copper” 25 cent coins.

Veteran broadcaster Alan Jones was searching for poems about the World Wars to share with people on ANZAC Day. Picture: Julian Andrews

Kathy McCabeNews Corp Australia Network

WHEN Alan Jones was casting through his collection of World War I poetry to recite for the Remembrance tribute album, he found the words of an 11-year-old girl.

An English school student Jodie Johnson wrote Who Are These Men? about 20 years ago and Jones was touched by the young girl’s perspective on the men who fought and lost their lives on the battlefield.

“Who are these men, Who march so proud, Who quietly weep Eyes closed, heads bowed?” Jones reads on the recording.

“These are the men Who once were boys Who missed out on youth And all of its joys.”

The veteran broadcaster said he was always searching for poems about the World Wars to share with people on ANZAC Day.

“It’s not for me to tell people how they should honour ANZAC Day and I think it is important to spend some time in reflection about those men and women. Poems and music help us do that,” he said.

Poems and music help people reflect on ANZAC Day and all it stands for, Alan Jones says. Picture: John Feder

Poems and music help people reflect on ANZAC Day and all it stands for, Alan Jones says. Picture: John FederSource:News Corp Australia

The other poem he cites as worthy of sharing this year is Why Do We Wear A Sprig Of Rosemary which tells the tale of a mother who lost her son explaining the emblem of remembrance to a young boy.

“We are all that little boy when you listen to these words,” he said.

The Remembrance collection also features new works including the Russell Morris song White Feather.

Morris, who has enjoyed popular success in recent years with his blues songs about great Australian stories, said the song was partly inspired by the experience of famous boxer Les Darcy and the film Hacksaw Ridge about a young medic who didn’t want to bear arms.

A white feather was a symbol given to men who would not enlist during WWI but has also come to represent pacifism over the decades.

“I took a bit of Darcy’s story. He was a boxer who didn’t believe in fighting for the English because he was Irish, he just wanted to be a boxer,” Morris said.

“There were many men who just didn’t have that in them to fight like on Hacksaw Ridge so I drew from those scenarios.”

The Remembrance collection also features new works including from Russell Morris.

The Remembrance collection also features new works including from Russell Morris.Source:Supplied

Morris said he could not imagine anyone being given a white feather because of cowardice today.

He wrote about his father’s experience in World War II on the song Sandakan which featured on his Van Diemen’s Land record in 2014.

Norm Morris was one of only a handful of men who survived the infamous death marches from the prisoner of war camp.

They were on the run in the jungle for six months before being recaptured and while he returned home, Norm died when his son was two.

Rising opera star Nathan Lay lends his baritone to standards including And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, It’s A Long Way To Tipperary, The Wild Colonial Boy and Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit-Bag.

Lay cites Roses of Picardy as being challenging because of its beloved place in the history of WWI songs with British soldiers singing it as they fought on the French fronts in the Somme.

“It was a piece which Mario Lanza also recorded and it was a very popular tune at the time about a love affair that happened near the Somme in France,” he said.

“It’s a tough one to cover as most of these pieces are because they are so ingrained in our history.”

Remembrance is available now.

SOURCE: newsnow entertainment