Poetry: One Game, One Goal (Tom Petsinas)

This is a poem by Tom Petsinas. Orm Fowler, known as Tom, played one game for Fitzroy and then (it seems) went to St Kilda. Looks like he enlisted in 1915. I have had a quick look at the War Memorial service records. Seven Tom Fowlers enlisted during World War I. Someone might like to work out which one this is.


by Tom Petsinas

What became of you, Tommy Fowler?
Guilt-stricken after your debut
Were you drawn by a recruiter’s patriotic call
To the team marching toward a final?

Or did that game bruise your hopes?
Realising you’d never be great
Did you blind-turn those factories in Fitzroy
For two-up with death’s silver coins?

In that Turkish spring, on that field
Lined with blossoming wire,
Were your boots laced tight the night before?
Did machine-guns barrack your name?

And marking a bullet on your chest,
Where a medal should’ve hung,
Did you keep running, gloriously toward goal,
Like at Brunswick Street that day?


  1. I have just learnt (from the poet) that this is about Thomas O. Fowler. That helps, if you’re having a look at the Aust War Memorial records (website). You can see digitised docs about all elements of someone’s military service..

  2. Lovely bit of work. Immense imagery.

    What made these men charge at the guns so recklessly and with their hearts so full?

  3. bernard whimpress says

    A fine poem Tom and especially so at this time of year.

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