The Last to Leave, Leon Gellert
The guns were silent, and the silent hills
had bowed their grasses to a gentle breeze
I gazed upon the vales and on the rills,
And whispered, "What of these?' and "What of these?
These long forgotten dead with sunken graves,
Some crossless, with unwritten memories
Their only mourners are the moaning waves,
Their only minstrels are the singing trees
And thus I mused and sorrowed wistfully
I watched the place where they had scaled the height,
The height whereon they bled so bitterly
Throughout each day and through each blistered night
I sat there long, and listened - all things listened too
I heard the epics of a thousand trees,
A thousand waves I heard; and then I knew
The waves were very old, the trees were wise:
The dead would be remembered evermore-
The valiant dead that gazed upon the skies,
And slept in great battalions by the shore.
This is indeed a false, false night;
There’s not a soldier sleeps,
But like a ghost stands to his post,
While Death through the long sap creeps.
There’s an eerie filmy spell o’er all —
A murmur from the sea;
And not a sound on the hills around —
Say, what will the silence be?
R. J. GODFREY, GALLIPOLI
Leon Gellert, Gallipoli poet.
He enlisted in the AIF on August 22, 1914, eighteen days after Britain had declared war on Germany. For seven weeks his battalion was kept in reserve on its troop ship before being ordered to land at Ari Burnu beach at dawn on April 25.
Gellert survived nine weeks on Gallipoli before coming down with dysentery. Evacuated to Malta, he contracted typhoid and was sent to England to convalesce. His reputation was made when his collection of fifty-five poems - Songs of a Campaign including Before Action, The Return, War!, The Death and The Attack at Dawn - was published.
Please read more about Leon Gellert at the link above!