THIS is at once sad and touching. It kind of hollows you out. If we were typing these words in a voice, it would be husky.
Gail Burton has found a newspaper clipping from 1943. It was flapping along a street in Wickham.
The story is about the appreciation that had rippled briefly around the world for a poem published in the US.
An Australian World War II airman had written it shortly before he was killed in the Middle East.
The airman, said the story, was 31-year-old Flight Sergeant Hugh R. Brodie. He was a teacher at Melbourne High School who’d joined the air force.
Gail reckons the story and Brodie’s poem mean a great deal to someone. After all, they’ve kept a 70-year-old news clipping.
We’d like to help her get them back to their owner, with your help. Here’s the poem that all the fuss is about.
A Sergeant’s Prayer
Almighty and all-present Power,
Short is the prayer I make to Thee.
I do not ask in battle hour
For any shield to cover me.
The vast unalterable way,
From which the stars do not depart,
May not be turned aside to stay
The bullets flying to my heart.
I ask no help to strike my foe,
I seek no petty victory here.
The enemy I hate, I know,
To Thee is also dear.
But this I pray: Be at my side
When death is drawing through the sky;
Almighty God, Who also died,
Teach me the way that I should die.