Saturday, December 1, 2007


Evacuation of Gallipoli, 1915

It has come to the last and its good-bye, Bill,
I’m sick at heart and sad
To leave you sleeping, old cobber, the best
That ever a swaddy had.

Somebody’s bungled the job, it is said,
Who, it isn’t for me to know,
But leaving the place where you fought and died,
Is stabbing my heart to go.

The lanes of mounds on the beach and hills,
In the spots that we fought to win,
The pledges of victories tardily won,
The graves of an Empires kin.

We’re going, but over Australia way
They will speak with a welling pride
Of sons who answered the call to arms
From the ciry and countryside.

And whether we leaving or whether we stay
It is much in the way the same,
For deep in the side of the green tree –Fame –
Is bitten Australia’s name.

I’m going, but hoping to meet again
On the level the wily Turk,
For fighting and crouching intraverse and tench
Is a sordid kind of work.

But war is war, and it’s little to say
That our enemy played the game;
He fought us as clean as a soldier may,
But I hate him just the same.

For I cn’t forget whenyou took the count
In a stunt to the left of Quinn’s,
A night as black as the ace of spades
Or a fallen Satyr’s sins.

Soft sentiment isn’t for soldier men,
But I swear when it’s steel to steel
The point of my bayonet dripping red
Will prove of the things I feel.

So good-bye, Bill, if the fates are kind
When the wattle trees burst to flame,
I will twine a wreath at my saddle bow
To honour my comrade’s name.

Or dozing on the old stock horse,
In the wake of the straying sheep,
Little doubt that I’ll dream of this shell-torn spot
Where I left you here to sleep.

Asleep with honour I leave you now,
You died as you wished to die.
The days will be longer without you,Bill;
Good-bye, old fellow, good-bye

February 1916.

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