Ode - Melbourne Shrine Of Remembrance


    So long as memory, valour, and faith endure,
    Let these stones witness, through the years to come,
    How once there was a people fenced secure
    Behind great waters girdling a far home.
    Their own and their land’s youth ran side by side
    Heedless and headlong as their unyoked seas, 
    Lavish o’er all, and set in stubborn pride
    Of judgment, nurtured by accepted peace.
    Thus, suddenly, war took them, seas and skies
    Joined with the earth for slaughter. In a breath
    They, scoffing at all talk of sacrifice,
    Gave themselves without idle words to death.
    Thronging as cities throng to watch a game
    Or their own herds move southward with the year,
    Secretly, swiftly, from their ports they came,
    So that before half earth had heard their name
    Half earth had learned to speak of them with fear;
    Because of certain men who strove to reach,
    Through the red surf, the crest no man might hold,
    And gave their name for ever to a beach
    Which shall outlive Troy’s tale when Time is old;
    Because of horsemen, gathered apart and hid, 
    Merciless riders whom Megiddo sent forth
    When the outflanking hour struck, and bid
    Them close and bar the drove-roads to the north;
    And those who, when men feared the last March flood
    Of Western war had risen beyond recall,
    Stormed through the night from Amiens and made good,
    At their glad cost, the breach that perilled all.
    Then they returned to their desired land, 
    The kindly cities and plains where they were bred, 
    Having revealed their nation in earth’s sight
    So long as sacrifice and honour stand,
    And their own sun at the hushed hour shall light
    The shrine of these their dead!


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