Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds"The Farmer Remembers the Somme," by Vance Palmer. "Will they ever fade or pass! The mud, and the misty figures endlessly coming in file through the foul morass, and the grey flood-water ripping the reeds and grass, and the steel wings drumming. The hills are bright in the sun. There's nothing changed or marred in the well-known places. When work for the day is done there's talk, and quiet laughter, and gleams of fun on the old folks' faces. I've returned to these-- the farm, and the kindly bush, and the young calves lowing. But all that my mind sees is a quaking bog in a mist-- stark, snapped trees, and the dark Somme flowing."

‘A Farmer Remembers the Somme’ by Vance Palmer

Watch a reading of Vance Palmer’s poem ‘A Farmer Remembers the Somme’ by Monash University student Hannah Gordon.

Talking point

In the comments, share with other learners your thoughts on Vance Palmer’s poem. You may wish to talk about how Palmer contrasts the battlefield with the rural landscape and atmosphere of farm life in Australia.

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This video is from the free online course:

World War 1: A History in 100 Stories

Monash University