My uncle, barely twenty, fought and died at Villers-Bretonneux in 1918. He gave my mother the secret of his enlistment and asked her not to tell
their mother. At six she hatched a plan to stop him leaving. She stole the
soap from his kitbag and hid it under the veranda steps, believing, that
without that essential piece of equipment he would not be able to go to
war. For wasn't 'cleanliness next to godliness'?
After my mother died I found one photograph from her childhood. From that sepia print her brother, wearing, at a slant, the slouch hat of the
Australian Imperial Forces, gazes: serious, serene.
A child's wish
to lasso the moon