Girls Blazer Badge Boys Blazer Badge

On looking at an old school photograph

This poem has often been read at OLO Chapel Services. The photograph to which it refers is the 1935 panorama - for which a copy with names of many of those pictured can be found Here

Unrolled and spread, the photograph has faded.
Not so my memory:
With ageless smiles, faces stare back at me,
Did they guess, behind those brittle grins
That some of them had fewer summers left?

In rows of blazer'd youth with arms neatly folded
I seek and find, a friend:
Run again down echoing corridors, to hear
The bell toll for us, the fleeting of our days.
And dead hands clap lost heroes, walking from the wicket.

We said that we would meet again - we never will
Stopp'd by war;
His immortality's enshrined beneath the clay in France.
He never knew, he gave the promise of his shining youth
That we who lived might know the fullness of our years.

I hear unbroken voices singing praises on an English morn'
Across years long fled:
A chilling shudder surges swiftly thru' my ageing frame,
And bitter bile rises in my hard'ning throat
To stifle back an endless, aching grief ...

Jim Ellis Australia 1969