Red Soldier featured in Painters Universe 23-12-11
Red Soldier featured in Impressionism Cafe 11-9-11

Drawn with black ink and red ink for Drawing Day the 4 June 2011.

Red Soldier by Anthea Slade

Red Soldier Detail by Anthea Slade

I Was Only 19 (A Walk in the Light Green)

Mum and Dad and Denny saw the passing out parade at Puckapunyal, (it was long march from cadets).
The Sixth Battalion was the next to tour and it was me who drew the card…
We did Canungra and Shoalwater before we left.

And Townsville lined the footpath as we marched down to the quay;
This clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean;
And there’s me in my slouch hat, with my SLR and greens…
God help me, I was only nineteen.

From Vung Tau riding Chinooks to the dust at Nui Dat,
I’d been in and out of choppers now for months.
But we made our tents a home, VB and pin-ups on the lockers,
and an Asian orange sunset through the scrub.

And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can’t get to sleep?
And night time’s just a jungle dark and a barking M16?
And what’s this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only nineteen.

A four week operation, when each step could mean your last one on two legs:
it was a war within yourself.
But you wouldn’t let your mates down ’til they had you dusted off,
so you closed your eyes and thought about something else.

Then someone yelled out "Contact"’, and the bloke behind me swore.
We hooked in there for hours, then a God almighty roar;
Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon: –
God help me, he was going home in June.

I can still see Frankie, drinking tinnies in the Grand Hotel
on a thirty-six hour rec. leave in Vung Tau.
And I can still hear Frankie lying screaming in the jungle.
’Till the morphine came and killed the bloody row

And the Anzac legends didn’t mention mud and blood and tears,

and stories that my father told me never seemed quite real
I caught some pieces in my back that I didn’t even feel…
God help me, I was only nineteen.

And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can’t get to sleep?
And why the Channel Seven chopper chills me to my feet?
And what’s this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me,
I was only nineteen.

Recorded under Redgum’s name in 1983 but from Redgum only Hugh McDonald and I performed on the track. Other instruments were played by Brian Czempinski, Trevor Lucas and Peter Coughlin

John Schumann: Universal Music Publishing Pty Ltd

Creating art and writing is like breathing to me, it keeps me alive. If I stop creating my world shrinks and contracts. When I start to create again it expands and is filled with colour. I feel whole. To create is to be completely, unabashedly alive.

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  • amanda marx
    amanda marxover 3 years ago

    anthea . . . this is such a stunningly beautiful work . . . i’m so moved by the strength and emotion you’re conveying here . . . there’s so much more i’d like to say but i can’t stop looking . . . you’ve consumed me . . .

  • Amanda thank you so much for this wonderful comment and connecting with the emotions I was trying to convey with Red Soldier. I loved your response so much dear friend.

    – Anthea Slade

  • banrai
    banraiover 3 years ago

    superb draw….. love the look

  • Banrai thank you so much. So thrilled that you love his look. Have just started experimenting with ink. I have not used inks since I was 18 years old. This was my first ink since then.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Angela  Burman
    Angela Burmanover 3 years ago

    Amazing work Anthea. The expressions says it all. Really touched my heart dear friend x

  • Oh thank you so much dear Angie. So glad you could feel the emotion in his expression. x

    – Anthea Slade

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorover 3 years ago


  • Thank you so much dear Liz. So thrilled you can feel the power and the passion in Red Soldier.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Renate  Dartois
    Renate Dartoisover 3 years ago

    Love this one Anthea the color to me shows his strength and passion to do what he must do but in his eyes also the resolve to stay alive.

  • Yes so true Renate. I was trying to show that resolve and determination to stay alive.

    – Anthea Slade

  • RosaCobos
    RosaCobosover 3 years ago

    Infinite crosses marking my brows,
    the sadness is leaving my countenance dry.
    Poor bloody Soul, who´s going to clean your blame?
    Rosa (this is impressive Anthea, and for me quite meaning. A very close-up portrait with intense fatigue and suffering….may be for nothing but for loosing the own soul…)

  • Rosa thank you so much for this insightful and empathetic reading of my Red Soldier. I love what you see and what you share here.

    – Anthea Slade

  • autumnwind
    autumnwindover 3 years ago

    powerful work Anthea. emotional, stunning and beautiful at once. the eyes have so much to say. brilliant. hugs! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

  • Oh thank you Shar, I love your comment and so thrilled that you feel his eyes have so much to say.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Barssel
    Barsselover 3 years ago

    Love the eyes

  • Thank you so much Adrian.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Michael Creese
    Michael Creeseover 3 years ago

    beautiful Anthea. dark emotions and beautiful reds

  • Thank you for this beautiful comment Michael. So glad you love the reds.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Sherri     Nicholas
    Sherri Nic...over 3 years ago

    Tear Jerker, Dear Anthea, beautiful painting and words, but to sad and so many wars so many men and women dead…so many are so so young whom have never even knew life..yea war is a tear jerker as your painting and the …Joh schumann..
    hugss my dear friend

  • Oh yes indeed dear Sherri war is a tear jerker for sure. Feel so sad when so many young men and women lose there lives or become disabled by war. It deeply moves my heart and brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for your sensitive and compassionate comment my dear friend Sherri.

    – Anthea Slade

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