About the Poem
About the poet
Geoff Page is a poet, reviewer and advocate for Australian poetry. Born in Grafton on the north...
Christ at Gallipoli
This synod is convinced that the forces
of the Allies are being used of God to
vindicate the rights of the weak and to
maintain the moral order of the world.
Anglican Synod, Melbourne, 1916.
Bit weird at first,
That starey look in the eyes,
The hair down past his shoulders,
But after a go with the ship's barber,
A sea-water shower and the old slouch hat
Across his ears, he started to look the part.
Took him a while to get the way
A bayonet fits the old Lee-Enfield,
But going in on the boats
He looked calmer than any of us,
Just gazing in over the swell
Where the cliffs looked black against the sky.
When we hit he fairly raced in through the waves,
Then up the beach, swerving like a full-back at the end
When the Turks'd really got on to us.
Time we all caught up,
He was off like a flash, up the cliffs,
After his first machine gun.
He'd done for three Turks when we got there,
The fourth was a gibbering mess.
Seeing him wave that blood-red bayonet,
I reckoned we were glad
To have him on the side.
from Smalltown Memorials (UQP 1975/Picaro Press, 2008), © Geoff Page 1975, used by permission of the author. The recording is taken from Coffee with Miles (River Road Press, 2009) © Geoff Page/River Road Press, 2009