Year 9 student Sarah Moad has had her poetry honoured in a Cenotaph at her old Primary School.
Entitled 'Lone Pine', Sarah wrote the poem in Grade 5 for a writing competition organised by the Returned Servicemen's League. As the winning entry, it was set in bronze in a Memorial Garden in Seymour to mark the 2015 ANZAC Centenary.
At this year's Remembrance Day, Laurimar Primary School - where Sarah attended until Grade 6 - honoured their alumna by having her story set into a new Cenotaph, where Remembrance Day celebrations are held annually.
It is a beautiful and insightful story and incredible to think it was written by someone so young.
Lone Pine by Sarah Moad
My life began on this rugged peninsula, overlooking sandy cliffs.
I shared stories with my fellow trees and the visiting birds.
Our tales were carried on the wind. I grew tall and strong, surviving storms and fires.
But everything changed when the fighting began.
I was there. Not to fight, heal or cook, but a mere pine tree. I was the Lone Pine.
I was there when they came, with their guns, wearing a uniform I had not seen before. When the men landed on a rocky cliff front instead of a beach, the Turkish troops were ready and they rained bombshells and bullets down.
I thought the battles would never stop. The fighting and noise was horrendous.
At night the silence was fearful, gave the men more time to think, expecting the worst for the next day.
At times, they stopped to lay to rest the fallen soldiers. One day, as the fighting paused, I felt a man leaning against me sadly, as he wrote a letter.
A tear slid down the man’s cheek. He crumpled and looked into the distance. He sat watching the waves for so long. I could tell would not sleep at all that night.
The fighting raged on, and the landscape was becoming bare and wounded, like the men who brought that fate upon it. Soon I was the last tree, the only one who did not get used as wood to shelter the Turks.
As the summer sun burned on, the next battle would be the last one I would live to see. My branches slowly withered, but my spirit lived on.
Two men gathered my pine cones, which I willingly gave so they could grow in memory of all that happened here.