Poem: The Army of the West by C.J. Dennis

There was tramping, a tramping, a tramp of many feet.
The young men, the strong men were marching in the street,
Marching for a new land, at the Old World's call,
With the sun upon their faces -- straight lads and tall,
The chosen of a lean land that yielded of her best.
"Pack your kit," the soldier said, "for the ships sail West."

Then Anzac, oh, Anzac! A new name on the tongue --
A proud name and a precious name to mark the valiant young --
The valiant young who went so gay across a troubled sea,
The glorious young who slept so deep upon Gallipoli.

There was tramping, a tramping, a tramp of weary feet.
The spent men, the worn men, were marching in the street --
Marching to the wild cheers, home at last from war,
With a wisdom on their faces that we had not known before:
Wisdom of the veteran, earned at our behest.
"Now sound the call," the soldier said, "for the boys gone West."

But Anzac, oh, Anzac! Dearly they bought the name
Who lit upon Gallipoli that everlasting flame --
The flame to light the path for men who live beyond their day;
While in the West the glory grows, as soldiers drift away.

There is tramping, a tramping, a tramp of steady feet.
The grey men, the grave men are marching in the street;
And maimed men and blind men and shattered men are here.
But many a man he marches not who marched last year.
Gathered to his comrades, to the Army of the Blest.
"Close up the ranks," the soldier said, "for the boys march West."

But Anzac, oh, Anzac! Surely no day shall come
When the fame shall not be quickened in the roll of every drum;
In the call of every bugle let the name be vibrant yet,
In a great land of strong men -- who never shall forget.

There yet will be a tramping, a tramping of dwindling feet,
As the last old, old men come marching down the street;
Marching now with memories, phantoms at their side,
To the cheering of their strong sons inheriting their pride;
Inheriting a shining gift won in a bloody quest.
"Hark!" the aged soldier says. "The bugles call us West."

Then Anzac! Anzac! Oh, what a mighty cry --
When that great hymn of greeting goes shouting down the sky,
As the last recruit comes marching to the singing of the rest,
And the last man answers roll-call in the Army of the West.

First published in The Herald, 25 April 1929.

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