Thursday, 25 April 2013

Gallipoli Evacuation

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.


  1. Sir
    Sir - would it help if I shed a tear
    I swear it’s the first time since this time last year
    My spine is a tingle - my throat is all dry
    As I stand to attention for all those who died
    I watch the flag dancing half way down the pole
    That damn bugle player sends chills to my soul
    I feel the pride and the sorrow - there’s nothing the same
    As standing to attention on ANZAC Day
    So Sir - on behalf of the young and the free
    Will you take a message when you finally do leave
    To your mates that are lying from Tobruk to the Somme
    The legend of your bravery will always live on
    I’ve welcomed Olympians back to our shore
    I’ve cheered baggy green caps and watched Wallabies score
    But when I watch you marching (Sir) in that parade
    I know these are the memories that never will fade
    So Sir - on behalf of the young and the free
    Will you take a message when you finally do leave
    It’s the least we can do (Sir) to repay the debt
    We’ll always remember you - Lest We Forget

    Damian (Dib) Morgan 1998
    (Dib Morgan is a young Queenslander from Condamine on the western Darling Downs. Sir is a vote of thanks to the men and women who have fought to defend the freedom that this country enjoys. Dib is determined to play his part in helping to preserve the ANZAC Spirit.)

    1. Good old - make that young - Dib, hard to keep a good man from the Downs, down.
      My only problem in reading here is that my travelling wireless connection in Buderim (SS Coast) is absolutely horrible! So, this IS a labour of love. Where's the NBN when you need it? (Just joking, folks ;-)
      Cheers al

  2. This historical link surprised me between John Monash and a larger than life character from Australian history. Timoshenko Aslanides found the link and cleverly wove it in one of his 18 line poems from the book AnniVeraries.

    General Consensus in Jerilderie

    Noon and heat: Jerilderie. Dust drifts like sheep.
    A crow swears high behind a boy's left shoulder,
    then slides offensiveness glissando down to silence.
    A horse is slow, shuffles its hooves and stops.
    'What's your name , my boy?' The presence, and question, commanding.
    In the time it takes to take one's time to speak,
    Edward Kelly dismounted around his chestnut mare,
    and bridle in hand, presented it to the lad.
    'Jackie Monash, Sir', looking up at up and eyes
    and beard and breadth; two smiles refresh the day.
    He grips the bridle in his right, without needing to look,
    and runs his left along the horses neck.
    'Her name is "Mirth", the big man says, talking down
    without talking down, 'can you hold her half an hour?'
    and tapping his horse's flank at K reversed on E,
    he turns to attend to letter, bank and mirth.
    'Ned Kelly', he said, shaking then filling the child's hand.
    Jackie spent the shilling; could never spend the story

    Monday 10th February 1879

  3. Love thast one too Dale. Wonder if it is based on fact and it really was the day Ned penned his famous Jerilderie letter to the authorities. What a small world if it is true, as I would like to believe.

  4. In the back of the book is a section called, Bibliography of Date-Specific Sources, just for those who wonder if these events woven into these 366 18 line poems are historically factual.
    For the 10th February the sources listed are:
    Colin Cave (ed), Ned Kelly: Man and Myth, Cassell Australia, North Ryde 1980
    John Molony, Ned Kelly, Penguin, Ringwood 1989
    Geoffrey Serle, John Monash: A Biography, Melbourne University Press in association with Monash University, Melbourne 1982
    Peter C Smith, Tracking Down the Bushrangers, Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst 1982
    The Sydney Morning Herald, February 11, 12, 1879

  5. Good stuff Dale. And apologies to Jan - I liked her poem comment too.


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