Why do we cheer those brown-faced boys with pride,
Why do dense crowds press round on every side,
Why do we throw them flowers, our hearts aglow?
Well—turn a minute to three years ago.
A moonlit beach—a cliff of scrub and bush—
The creeping, crowded boats—a breathless hush—,
A cranch of keels —a leap, a shallow splash—
And then Inferno, thunder, blaze and crash.
“Straight as a bayonet”—riddled where they fell;
Hacking the wire, across that strip of Hell;
Those untried heroes—husky and blood-drenched—
Hurled back the Turkish outposts —and entrenched!
The thing that was impossible was done!
From the beginning thus have Britons won.
So, year by year, in words of fire and gold,
The Anzacs’ glorious landing shall be told.
by Jessie Pope, 1868-1941
With this April marking the centenary of ANZAC participation in the invasion of Gallipoli in World War One I shall be featuring poetry on the theme of war and its consequences throughout the coming month.
Jessie Pope was a well-known English writer of the pre-WW1 and WW1 period who wrote a number of poems during the war period, lauding the ANZAC soldiers. I find it interesting to juxtapose its sentiment with that of Lorna Staveley Anker’s Ellen’s Vigil, featured on September 3, 2013, written as witness to her grandmother’s grief for three sons, all of whom died in France.
To read the featured poem on the Tuesday Poem Hub and other great poems from fellow Tuesday poets from around the world, click here.