John Monash Farewells Gallipoli
If the spark had hissed as it jumped from terminal to wire,
still it seemed glad of eventual connection:
the mines blew 'Russell's Top', and perhaps a hundred Turk,
to rubble above a lost Gallipoli.
Dust dropped its veil, and from the length of Sari Bair,
the rifles raked now - empty allied trenches.
'I was here at the start; have a right to be at the finish.'
The sentiment was understandable.
The evacuation, unlike the landing, was competent,
the living hating only to abandon the dead.
Trails of flour or salt or sugar - anything
which pored out white beneath the winter moon -
were followed in a silence of men and disappointment
to shore for lighters and transports bound for Lemnos.
Monash could see departure as elaborate military joke,
but knew that even that would be forgotten,
like all wars, this one already a curious
museum display of self - firing rifles.
By Timoshenko Aslanides
This is the entry for the 20th December out of the book AnniVeraries: 366 Linked poems, One for every day of the Australian Year.