Monday, August 2, 2010


Sometimes people have moments where they are inspired. Whether it's inspired to complete a massive task such as a marathon or simply inspired to write.

I am one of those people that is inspired on occasion to the task of writing. Sometimes I can pin point what it is that inspired me. I may read a poem and decide yes! Write a poem! And then sit down and crank out a poem or 5 in an hour on an hour all often unrelated. On other occasions it may just be an urge to write and so I open up a new word document and sit there and stare at the screen until something comes.

My most recent inspiration though now a few months old, came when I was watching the brilliant Australian film Beneath Hill 60. This film is undoubtedly one of the best Australian films I have seen in a long time. In a nation where many of our films are rather less than impressive and scream "LOW BUDGET" it can often be easy to just dismiss a new film as nothing special without seeing it. But it is this film which has affected me most of any film I have seen in a long time. So much to the point that I came home from watching it, sat down, turned on my computer and simply wrote. There were two scenes in particular which affected me and what I put here today is my perspective of the first of those scenes.

A bit of background for the person who hasn't seen the film and knows nothing about it:

The movie is set in WWI. In France as well as Ypres, Belgium and some scenes are set in Queensland, Australia.

It follows the First Australian Tunnelling Division and is adapted from the diaries of Captain Oliver Woodward who was a mining engineer before he enlisted for the war. He was in charge of a group of Australian soldiers who all had mining experience and their job was to tunnel under the enemy trenches and set charges etc. as well as to avoid the Germans who were also tunnelling and frequently breaking through into each others tunnels. They had listening posts where they used stethescopes and primitive microphones to listen to each other tunnelling and try to work out what the other side were doing.

The film focuses on the events at Ypres, Belgium and Messines Ridge where they mined to a depth of 90 foot underground and set mines beneath Hill 60 as it was known and the German trenches. They eventually set them off in 1917 killing 10,000 German soldiers with what was one of the largest if not the largest non-nuclear explosion until the Atomic Bomb. It was reportedly able to be felt/heard in London and also possibly even in Dublin.

This scene is set in a tunnel under enemy lines. The Germans have just blasted through into a diversionary tunnel and this Aussie soldier is caught in the blast.

I have written this from the point of view of the soldier.


I open my eyes slowly. All I can hear is the ringing in my ears. All I can feel is the pain of being thrown by the explosion and half buried.

I fumble for my matches to light the candle I never let go.

Sulphur strikes and burns.

I light the candle.

The flame flares bright and quickly fades.

I am light headed.

The flame dies and I am left in the dark. 

All I can see is my darling Elsa knitting away.
I promised her I would bring our son back. I promised her he would be safe with me. He is alive. I have kept that promise. But I can never keep this one.

Darling Elsa be strong. I will see you in heaven one day.

Walt son, stay safe. Stay strong. Make it home to your mother. Look after her for me. You're a man now. I kept you safe. Keep her safe for me.

Keep her safe...


Hope you enjoyed.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Great work. You're very talented. Keep writing poems. They are great.