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  Dedicated to the Original Victor Company and to the late 39556 WO1 John "Scoff" Cootes MBE who passed away at his home in Ngaruawahia on 9th June 2009 and who now rests on Taupiri Mountain. The poem was originally written for Scoff Cootes in 1997.

Softly I Hear You

Softly I hear you
across the marae
at Turangawaewae
down through the times from
Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam,
and across the intervening
forty years or more,
and though the ears are
growing old, sprouting hairs
like my grandfather's,
they instinctively know
that barely heard whistle,
just a fine-pitched whisper
really, dancing on the air,
flitting through the trees
and along the jungle track
for our ears only, so quiet
an enemy would never know,
but calling my name, as clear
as if you shouted it
from the mountain top
forty years ago, echoing
still in my head, "Over here",
it says, "Over here",
and I turn my head, smiling,
and see you standing there,
still, we two highly trained
fit and strong young men,
alert to ever-present danger,
a finely tuned team, we two,
in tiring bodies now, but
living just that instant
in another time.

Ross Nepia Himona

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