Anzac Eve by C. J. Dennis

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   For some, it was the last sun that should set,
      For many, their last glimpse of fecund day --
A splendid sun, dipping, reluctant yet,
      Into blue water west of Mudros Bay;
And they -- new burnished coin to squander free
   In "that red purchase" on Gallipoli.

   They guessed not; or, half guessing, did not reck
      That for the doomed no other sun should rise
   But to reveal the still forms that would fleck
      The Anzac Beach; staring with lifeless eyes
   Where carrier pigeons, white against the blue,
   Bore the dread tale for other skies they knew.

   They sang, they laughed; and laughing cursed again
      The long monotony of Mudros Bay.
Like hounds released, the eager shouting men
   Crowded the decks and whiled the time away
At cards; half fearing what they most desired
   Might be denied them yet; and no shot fired.

   And, as that sun set in the azure vast,
      Who counted one day more or one day less?
   How many deemed it was for them the last
      To light a world of blood and bitterness?
   Yet bitterness for many a heart lay there
   When next the sun blazed over Sari Bair.

First published in The Herald, 24 April 1930

Author reference sites: C.J. Dennis, Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 24, 2011 8:29 AM.

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