The Anzac Graves on Gallipoli

You may not pass this place. Here you must stop,
Though all the world’s great tides run heedless by
These quiet graves, where wandering goats now crop
The thyme and saltbush, under a silent sky,

Where pine and myrtle speak our pride and sorrow.
The boys who made us men lie buried here,
As once in Greece men mourned their lost tomorrow
And said, the Spring was taken from the year.

These hills, where trenches fill and crumble under,
And migrant birds find peaceful resting-place
Erupted once in such a cosmic thunder
And fire, as when a star is born in space.

Here, racked with thirst, and dazed, and blind, and sweating
Through pain, and dread, and ecstasy, and blood,
Our flesh and bone climbed to their self-forgetting
And in this place was born our nationhood.

Therefore I say to all who now inherit
Their name and lands in freedom, Dare to know
This chosen ground, and walk these hills in spirit,
And pause a while, and choose before you go.

Poems of War

Poems of Australia