A treasury of war poetry, British and American poems of the world war, 1914-1919/Australasia

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
For works with similar titles, see The New Zealander.



BY all the deeds to Thy dear glory done,
By all the life blood spilt to serve Thy need,
By all the fettered lives Thy touch hath freed
By all Thy dream in us anew begun;
By all the guerdon English sire to son
Hath given of highest vision, kingliest deed,
By all Thine agony, of God decreed
For trial and strength, our fate with Thine is one.

Still dwells Thy spirit in our hearts and lips,
Honour and life we hold from none but Thee,
And if we live Thy pensioners no more
But seek a nation's might of men and ships,
'Tis but that when the world is black with war
Thy sons may stand beside Thee strong and free.

August, 1914.


OH, hump your swag and leave, lads, the ships are in the bay;
We've got our marching orders now, it's time to come away;
And a long good-bye to Anzac beach where blood has flowed in vain,
For we're leaving it, leaving it—game to fight again!

But some there are will never quit that bleak and bloody shore,
And some that marched and fought with us will fight and march no more;
Their blood has bought till judgment day the slopes they stormed so well,
And we're leaving them, leaving them, sleeping where they fell!

(Leaving them, leaving them, the bravest and the best;
Leaving them, leaving them, and maybe glad to rest!
We've done our best with yesterday, to-morrow's still our own—
But we're leaving them, leaving them, sleeping all alone!)

Ay, they are gone beyond it all, the praising and the blame,
And many a man may win renown, but none more fair a fame;
They showed the world Australia's lads knew well the way to die,
And we're leaving them, leaving them, quiet where they lie!

(Leaving them, leaving them, sleeping where they died;
Leaving them, leaving them, in their glory and their pride—
Round them sea and barren land, over them the sky,
Oh, we're leaving them, leaving them, quiet where they lie!)


LEAN brown lords of the Brisbane beaches,
Lithe-limbed kings of the Culgoa bends,
Princes that ride where the Roper reaches,
Captains that camp where the grey Gulf ends—
Never such goodly men together
Marched since the kingdoms first made war;
Nothing so proud as the Emu Feather
Waved in an English wind before!

Ardour and faith of those keen brown faces!
Challenge and strength of those big brown hands!
Eyes that have flashed upon wide-flung spaces!
Chins that have conquered in fierce far lands!—
Flood could not daunt them, Drought could not break them;
Deep in their hearts is their sun's own fire;
Blood of thine own blood, England, take them!
These are the swords of thy soul's desire!


[Monody on the death of a member of the New Zealand Contingent, who, going to rest on the beach, was killed in his sleep by a discharge of shrapnel.]

SAMOTHRACE and Imbros lie
Like blue shadows in the sky;
Scented comes the wind from Greece
Slow winged as the Soul of Peace.

All was still as evening came
With a whisper, sheathed in flame,
And the battlefield grew still
From the Valley to the Hill.

Just beyond the ripples' reach
He was lying on the beach,
Dreaming half of things at home,
Mixing dreams with light and foam.

Three days he had smelt the dead,
Looked on black blood and on red,
Gripped and lain, and cursed and hated,
Feared, exulted, prayed, and waited.

From the dawn till dusk was dim
All the world had spied on him;
And the wind that sighed so low
Seemed the footstep of his foe,

And at night the fireflies dancing
Were the light of men advancing.
Swift his hands. His brain was cool.
"Hell," he said, "poor Tom's at school."

Then he rested on the beach
Just beyond the ripples' reach,
Home and sunset in his dream
Till the shrapnel's quicker gleam

Found his heart, and found his head—
Found him dreaming, left him dead.
And they buried him at night
With men fallen in the fight.

So he fought and went away
With the glory of the day,
And no hatred in his heart
When the great ways met to part.

On a beach without a name
He died sleeping, robbed of fame,
Just before the day grew dim.
Tom, his brother, envied him.


THE wireless tells and the cable tells
How our boys behaved by the Dardanelles.
Some thought in their hearts "Will our boys make good?"
We knew them of old and we knew they would!
Knew they would—
Knew they would;
We were mates of old and we knew they would.

They laughed and they larked and they loved likewise,
For blood is warm under Southern skies;
They knew not Pharaoh ('tis understood),
And they got into scrapes, as we knew they would,
Knew they would—
Knew they would;
And they got into scrapes, as we knew they would.

They chafed in the dust of an old dead land
At the long months' drill in the scorching sand;
But they knew in their hearts it was for their good,
And they saw it through as we knew they would,
Knew they would—
Knew they would;
And they saw it through as we knew they would.

The coo-ee called through the Mena Camp,
And an army roared like the Ocean's tramp
On a gale-swept beach in her wildest mood,
Till the Pyramids shook as we knew they would,
Knew they would—
Knew they would.
(And the Sphinx woke up as we knew she would.)

They were shipped like sheep when the dawn was grey;
(But the officers knew that no lambs were they).
They squatted and perched where'er they could,
And they "blanky-ed" for joy as we knew they would,
Knew they would—
Knew they would;
They "blanky-ed" for joy as we knew they would.

The sea was hell and the shore was hell,
With mine, entanglement, shrapnel and shell,
But they stormed the heights as Australians should,
And they fought and they died as we knew they would,
Knew they would—
Knew they would;
They fought and they died as we knew they would.

From the southern hills and the city lanes,
From the sandwaste lone and the Blacksoil Plains;
The youngest and strongest of England's brood!
They'll win for the South as we knew they would,
Knew they would—
Knew they would;
They'll win for the South as we knew they would.


"The Australians are fighting hard in Gallipoli."—Cable.

ROLLING out to fight for England, singing songs across the sea;
Rolling North to fight for England, and to fight for you and me;
Fighting hard for France and England, where the storms of Death are hurled;
Fighting hard for Australasia and the honour of the World!
Fighting hard.

Fighting hard for Sunny Queensland—fighting for Bananaland,
Fighting hard for West Australia, and the mulga and the sand;
Fighting hard for Plain and Wool-Track, and the haze of western heat—
Fighting hard for South Australia and the bronze of Farrar's Wheat!
Fighting hard!

Fighting hard for fair Victoria, and the mountain and the glen;
(And the Memory of Eureka—there were other tyrants then),
For the glorious Gippsland forests and the World's great Singing Star
For the irrigation channels where the cabbage gardens are—
Fighting hard!

Fighting hard for gale and earthquake, and the wind-swept ports between;
For the wild flax and manuka and the terraced hills of green.
Fighting hard for wooden homesteads, where the mighty kauris stand—
Fighting hard for fern and tussock!—Fighting hard for Maoriland!
Fighting hard!

Fighting hard for little Tassy, where the apple orchards grow
(And the Northern Territory, just to give the place a show),
Fighting hard for Home and Empire, while the Commonwealth prevails
And, in spite of all her blunders, dying hard for New South Wales.
Dying hard.

Fighting for the Pride of Old Folk, and the people that you know;
And the girl you left behind you—(ah! the time is passing slow).
For the proud tears of a sister! come you back, or never come!
And the weary Elder Brother, looking after things at home—
Fighting hard! You Lucky Devils!
Fighting hard.