Anzac Eve

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis 1876 (Auburn) – 1938 (Melbourne)

For some, it was the last sun that should set,
For many, their last glimpse of fecund day
A splendid sun, dipping, reluctant yet,
Into blue water west of Mudros Bay;
And they - new burnished coin to squander free
In 'that red purchase' on Gallipoli.

They guessed not; or, half guessing, did not reck
That for the doomed no other sun should rise
 But to reveal the still forms that would fleck
The Anzac Beach; staring with lifeless eyes
Where carrier pigeons, white against the blue,
Bore the dread tale for other skies they knew.

They sang, they laughed; and laughing cursed again
The long monotony of Mudros Bay.
Like hounds released, the eager shouting men
Crowded the decks and whiled the time away
At cards; half fearing what they most desired
Might be denied them yet; and no shot fired.

And, as that sun set in the azure vast,
Who counted one day more or one day less?
How many deemed it was for them the last
To light a world of blood and bitterness?
Yet bitterness for many a heart lay there
When next the sun blazed over Sari Bair.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis, better known as C. J. Dennis, was an Australian poet known for his humorous poems, especially "The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke", published in the early 20th century. Though Dennis's work is less well known today, his 1915 publication of The Sentimental Bloke sold 65,000 copies in its first year, and by 1917 he was the most prosperous poet in Australian history. Together with Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, both of whom he had collaborated with, he is often considered among Australia's three most famous poets. While attributed to Lawson by 1911, Dennis later claimed he himself was the 'laureate of the larrikin'. When he died at the age of 61, the Prime Minister of Australia Joseph Lyons suggested he was destined to be remembered as the 'Australian Robert Burns'. more…

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