Anzac Eve

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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"Anzac Eve" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 18 Feb. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6193/anzac-eve>.

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