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ON CHUNUK BAIR

On blood rock ground and desperate sill
good Kiwi men and Turkish shell
closed their ranks in the dawn-bright sun
and turned the gullies and ridge-back spurs
into killing grounds and the halls of hell.

A relentless squandering of young life -
three hundred gallant Kiwi boys,
their soldier's blood runnelling
in falling sheets to ravines below,
their dreams sucked up in bitter noise.

Dominions' sons erupting from the ground,
blades thirsty for the tempering chest,
charging bitter yards to enemy's trench,
scythed down like the flowers of the field
in tears on the broken earth's breast.

Their bodies slumping without grace
and the agony dimming within their eyes
failing at last loose-limbed down
the cruel steep slopes of Chunuk Bair
in a welter of steel and snuffed out lives.

Machine-guns stitching the already dead
in corpse stench mounds and ravaged face,
the horror of it all forever engraved
upon the souls of the charging men
who sweated fear and prayed for grace.

And out at sea in Gallipoli's lee
sat the general and sipped his gin,
waved his cane and committed the blokes
to outrageous slaughter upon the hills
where Anzac birthed in the dreadful din.

True men lie in gully shaded graves,
the broken artifacts of man's war game,
untimely wrapped in the torn land's breast
now quiet and still in the winds of time
and Chunuk Bair your Anzac fame.

John A. Moller
Whiskey Two Company RNZIR

 

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