Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ANZACS, by HENRY CHAPPELL

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THE ANZACS, by            
First Line: No straws weighed they of the right or wrong
Last Line: And shrines in her heart the dead.
Subject(s): Cemeteries; Death; Heaven; Soldiers; War; Graveyards; Dead, The; Paradise

NO straws weighed they of the right or wrong
When out of the north there came,
Fire sped, the message of War declared,
Of banners flung and bright blades bared,
Of a little nation's Calvary shared,—
Of a mighty nation's shame.

The mother called, and her voice alone
Was reason enough and more,
So they came in the flush of youthful days,
By hard trod paths and devious ways,
Thro' biting frosts and burning rays,
From the inlands down to the shore.

The Mother called from her far-off throne
And the young blood leaped to the old,
Virile and strong from the farthest ends,
Where sea with sky in a red haze blends,
And the lamp of the Southern Cross depends
From its heaven of blue and gold.

To fight for a land they only knew
From a mother's lips, or sire's.
Throned in the surge, a Queen, to keep
The stormy ways of the trackless deep;
Quick in their hearts her ideals leap,
And in their blood her fires.

The pride of her name upbore them thro'
The hell of that fatal shore,
Where heroes fought and died to gain
The steep that belched a deadly rain,
And Heaven and earth seemed split in twain
By the cannons' thunderous roar.

No marbles gleam where the fallen lie,
Just a simple cross at the head,
But Britain mourns her sons who sleep
In their lonely graves by the sounding deep,
Honour's the troth the living keep,
And shrines in her heart the dead.

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