Military Artist and Author Ian Coate

Military Poems and Ballads

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My Mate – Lest We Forget
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate
Australian SASR Memorial  The Rock by Ian Coate

The flag’s half-mast – my mate is gone – the grief’s too raw to share.
My mind is blank – I cannot think – his loss is all that’s there.

To family that he left behind, I’m sorry for this day.
I want to share how much he meant, but don’t know what to say.

They say he died for freedom sake – in part this may be true.
I really feel his sacrifice was meant for me and you.

It’s hard to talk about a mate and sum up all he is,
Those traits the ANZAC diggers had - these virtues all were his.

He was a soldier through and through - he stood beside the best.
With things that mattered on the field, be sure he passed the test.

I always knew he had my back– he was a dinkum friend.
His loved ones were upon his mind until the very end.

We shared good times, we shared some bad, we laughed and reminisced.
My mate sure was a lot of things – but most of all he’s missed.

I never told him what he meant – for this I do regret.
But always will I honour him, ‘MY MATE – LEST WE FORGET’.

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Military Reflection
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate
Military Reflection Artwork by Ian Coate

Reflecting on the many years, since ANZACs first became;
There’s much that now is different, but much that stays the same.

There’s still a price for liberty, so we can choose our path.
There still are those who go to war and pay on our behalf.

There still are those who sacrifice and leave loved-ones behind.
So we can have the right to vote and speak what’s on our mind.

There still are those who face a foe and fight in foreign lands.
In hopes that we’ll be terror-free and safe from evil hands.

There still are those who take a wound and live with daily pain.
Their battle is a lifelong thing; their price for freedom’s gain.

There still are those who give their lives and break their happy home.
There still are grieving boys and girls – and partners all alone.

So keep in mind our wounded vets and families of the lost;
They’re still the ones who bear the bulk of freedom’s daily cost.

Remember freedom has a price – we’re in our soldiers’ debt.
Remember to remember – lest we all forget.

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The Light Horseman
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate
Light Horseman Artwork by Ian Coate

Australia has a legend that through her sons lives on.
Born from amidst the colonies; a horseman thereupon.

He derives from hardy stockmen; a yeoman cavalier.
He’s been tested under fire; a man with little fear.

To most countries he has traveled; through many wars he’s been.
He’s by far the strangest soldier the world has ever seen.

He’s a rider; he’s a fighter; a rogue; a gentleman.
He’s the devil with mobility; a fearless guardian.

With loyalty beyond reproach that one should never spurn.
This man’s respect is not a thing that you may easily earn.

He’s always unpredictable and lives the life of whim.
He doesn’t take it seriously; it’s all a game to him.

He’s a reckless man, a braggart, but in truth he’s earned his due.
There is little that he says that he can’t ever do.

While time has changed the horsemen’s job to a different art.
And years have passed since last they charged; he’s still the same at heart.

Even though his steed has altered, he knows when things get grim.
The spirit of the Light Horseman will always ride with him.

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The Military Dog
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate
The Military Dog Artwork by Ian Coate

We’ve lost another soldier – our firm and faithful friend.
So swift of feet and strong of heart – so loyal to the end.

He was a combat soldier – ideal in every way
In action he was fearless – the first into the fray.

He was my shield between our foes – my sword within a fight.
My ears within the stillness – my eyes within the night.

We bonded in our training – he had a trooper’s soul.
If not for his protection – we couldn’t do our role.

And now he has departed – he served his country true.
So don’t forget my loyal mate – who died for me and you.

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The Soldier’s Loyal Mate
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate
Military Working Dog Poem Artwork by Ian Coate

The bond between my working dog is somewhat hard to state.
My working dog is not a pet – he is my loyal mate.

I train, I play and work with him – he gives me all he’s got.
Without complaint he stands by me and shares the soldiers’ lot.

When on deployment overseas and things get really hard,
I soundly sleep because I know, he always stays on guard.

He has a sense if danger’s near – I am his main concern.
In battle he would die for me – for nothing in return.

No matter how I fail in life, he never judges me.
And when I need a friendly paw, it’s there upon my knee.

So if, by chance, I lose my mate – please grieve with me – feel blue.
For when he gives his life for me – he gives his life for you.

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Our Duty Is Done
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate
Military Ghosts Artwork by Ian Coate

For Freedom’s sake we’ve been to war, on duty’s principal
From present day back to the Boer, we’ve paid the price in full.

We’ve fought in countries far and near; on land, on sea and sky.
For longer than a hundred years, we’ve waved loved ones goodbye.

We’ve paid the price; our duty’s done. It’s time we had some leave.
Finally we can rest in peace, now freedom is achieved.

What a reunion it will be – so many mates to meet.
The finest Digger’s jubilee – united and complete.

So remember all our service, honour the price we paid.
By living your life to the full, is how we’ll be repaid.


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Stand Fast
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate
Military Australian Soldiers Vietnam Artwork by Ian Coate

Stand fast our Aussie Diggers; we need you at the front.
Our freedoms demand maintenance, which you must bear the brunt.

We don’t always appreciate the freedoms that you’ve won.
We soon forget in peacetime the duties that you’ve done.

But do your job in spite of us; ignore our ignorance.
Defend us in our time of need with constant vigilance.

For without you there, to bar the pass, enemies will get through.
And on that day we’ll wish we had, maintained support for you.


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Deployed
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate
Military Deployment Artwork by Ian Coate

We’re on deployment yet again; I hope it’s somewhere cool.
Like Bali on a tropic isle – peacekeeping by the pool.

Or Paris, Rome or Amsterdam, just think of all the sights.
Or stationed up in Canada, we’ll see the Northern Lights.

In Asia there’s the Chinese wall – that’s one I’d like to see.
The mountain range in Switzerland – now that’s the place for me.

I’m pumped up now; I just can’t wait, to see where we’re deployed.
This army gig is not all bad, with perks for those employed.

The plane has stopped, the ramp is down; let’s see where we have flown.
Ah crap! Another desert hole! I should have bloody known.


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The SAS Soldier
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate
Military Deployment Artwork by Ian Coate

Australia has a canny son – his skills are world renowned.
When tensions on the globe erupt, he’s first upon the ground.

He’s the lion of the army – to this most would agree.
He’s the fully rounded soldier that many want to be.

Though plenty seek selection – few ever make the grade.
The sandy beret signifies: a master of his trade.

He’s a military specialist – an expert with his tools.
He’s quick to speak what’s on his mind and doesn’t suffer fools.

He’s a stubborn sort of fellow who seems without a care.
His motto’s not for cowards – to win he has to dare.

You’ll find him in the jungles, the deserts and the snow.
But ask him where he’ll be next week; he’ll say he doesn’t know.

He moves freely in the daytime, but always out of sight.
He appears where least expected – a phantom in the night.

He’ll face extreme conditions with minimum supply.
His body may be soaking, but his humour’s always dry.

He pays the price for liberty – far from the warmth of home.
His family pays a price as well, through endless months alone.

In public celebrations, we never see his face.
In times of recognition, he feels quite out of place.

He says it’s just his duty, the service that he vowed.
But Australia thanks you anyway; you’ve done this country proud.


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The Engineer
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate
Military Deployment Artwork by Ian Coate

In times of great adversity, when backed against a wall.
When soldier’s lives are on the line, there’s someone you should call.

When obstacles become too great, do not give in to fear.
Get on your two-way radio and call an Engineer.

They find a way to overcome all problems in their way.
Their skills of ingenuity will always save the day.

They’re soldiers with ability to think outside the square.
They’ll do the jobs that have the risks, which others wouldn’t dare.

They have a mind for making things that sets them from the rest.
And when it comes to breaking things, they’ve proved they are the best.

In battles past they’ve shown their worth - they’re cunning as a fox.
The way they overcome their tasks is quite unorthodox.

Their soldier skills are dinky-di - as good as any grunt.
When battle starts, they know their place – they’re always at the front.

So if you need a helping hand, there’s one you should implore.
The soldier from that canny place – the Engineer Corps. 

And if you need a real good mate to join you for a beer.
You know the man to call upon - that’s right, the Engineer.


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The Colours of Duntroon
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate
Duntroon Artwork by Ian Coate

To take the path of leadership is not an easy thing.
It takes more than academics and skills of managing.

You need a greater character that shines both clear and bright.
A light for men to follow, through times of fear and plight.

When you can show great self-control with what you say and do,
And never stoop to gossip or say a word untrue.

When you can face and overcome the failures in your past.
In times of great adversity, be strong, stand tall, hold fast.

When you can sense the rise of fear, but not give into fear,
And handle your emotions – through pressures staying clear.

When your wisdom is advancing from gathering all the facts.
When you're prompt to hear, slow to speak and mentally relaxed.

When you can firmly stand your ground, by a right decision,
And not bow down to politics or uncontrolled ambition.

When you're content and stabilised, where ever you may be.
When you're sensitive to others, though you may disagree.

When you can lead impartial, with not a hint of spite.
Neither favouring or thwarting, but dealing fair and right.

Then you are now an officer and respect will follow soon.
For men will see your colours and the colours of Duntroon.


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ANZACs Then - ANZACs Still
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate

ANZAC Artwork by Ian Coate

Our ANZACs are an honoured group – they have two nation’s pride.
Today we have so much because: they fought, they bled, they died.

The ANZAC soul can still be found, in those who choose to serve.
Courage, humour and mateship, are values they preserve.

Our diggers all deserve respect; there’s few that have their skill.
They proved that they were ANZACs then – they prove they’re ANZACs still.


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T’was the Dawn Christmas Morning
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate (Apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

Christmas Soldier Artwork by Ian Coate

‘Twas the dawn Christmas morning and a soldier was sad;
He was far from his family in a nation gone bad.

He thought of his children, all tucked up in bed
He thought of his wife and a tear he did shed.

‘Is this crap all worth it?’ he said to his mate,
‘I wanna go home, not sit here and wait.’

His mate thought for a bit, then said with a smile:
‘It’s the reason we’re here that makes this worthwhile.

‘We’re tired and we’re cramped in this pit in the ground
So our families are safe and free all year round.

‘We’re doing our bit, like those in the past,
So peace has a chance and freedom can last.’

The soldier nodded his head – this year had been tough;
He’d seen warfare and famine and nastier stuff.

He thought of his children and thought of his wife
And was thankful they had such a fortunate life.

Seeing some shepherds protecting their herds,
He suddenly smiled and whispered the words:

‘Merry Christmas my family – I really miss you,
But my presence right here is my present to you.’


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Not a 'Military Poem' but thought you would enjoy anyway.

Backyard Cricket
Poem and artwork by Ian Coate

Backyard Cricket Artwork by Ian Coate

Remember back to younger days when sport was played for fun.
We'd play the game with pure delight beneath the summer sun.

When a bat could be a tree branch, a can could be a wicket.
The fences marked the boundaries; the rules were backyard cricket.

We would play the game for hours and all would get a turn.
We'd bowl slowly for the small kids; they’d need a chance to learn.

But when a dad or uncle would go up to the crease,
We'd bowl as fast as lightning; all mercy bowls would cease.

And when it came our turn to bat, we prayed to lady luck,
‘Please let me get at least a run, not bowled out for a duck!’

But soon we came to learn the fact that losing was no shame,
It’s all about good sportsmanship and how we played the game.

For winning is an empty thing, if everyone is cross.
For all the good it did for you, you may as well have lost.

The greatest match you'll ever play is not for fame or rates,
It's in the backyard of your home with family, pets and mates.

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Various Military Art by Ian CoateAustralian SAS Artworks by Ian Coate Light Horse art by Ian Coate
 
Military Working Dog art by Ian CoateAustralian Military Poems by Ian Coate Portraits of Ian Coate
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