Gallipoli (Remembering 100 years)

The rugged, steep,  intrepid hills

wait expectantly for

the young innocent faces

of the soldiers

going ashore,

stepping on the sand

of an ancient land,

but a place not as old as

the one the lads came from.

 

Young men from an old land,

from a country just born,

seek to write some stories

to add to the growing collection

of a new mythology.

 

Their uniforms and packs are fresh

and unsullied by the sounds

and smells of war;

they are yet to be covered by the bloodied

red landscape

and the sweat and the vomit

that will exist close

in those noble pits

that must become

their graves.

 

“It’s an adventure lads!”

they announce in thoughts

and words,

full of light,

full of dark,

so soon to be drowned in the din

of weapons and

the surreal spectre of bodies

and still eyes that look

but do not see,

painted into the landscape,

painted into memory.

 

Their weapons are ready to fight

a war whose cause is known

and unknown;

and on this lonely Peninsula

they want to believe words

that echo from a long past

but seem now so new.

 

They are with their mates

as they splash through water and

tread the sand and climb

the beckoning cliffs

where nothing can go so wrong

that a friend and fellow traveller

is unable to fix by lending a hand

and showing the way.

 

Their eyes look up

with adventurous expectation

and wonderment about what is to come,

and their memories return to an old land

far away,

to friends and family

whose fears deepen with each absent day.

 

Then the guns rise from a force

whose origins are ancient

and from a people who have known travail

long before the new country

was a European possession.

 

The guns rise with the sun

and at sun down

Innocence has fallen,

and the great Gods of War

have thundered the awful tune

of death.

 

The long nights of doubt

and the longing for days long gone

have begun;

and with each other,

with the symphony and clatter

of eating out of cans,

syncopated with gunfire and shells,

life with exist

in the dreaded boundary between

courage and uncertainty.

 

22/4/2015

 

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