Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

(7 September 1876 - 22 June 1938 / Auburn, South Australia)

Anzac Square: What The Digger Said - Poem by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Said the Digger: 'Soon forgot! Soon forgot, the deeds of war.
Better so, may be. . . Why not?
Beauty fades and laurels rot;
Last year's roses are no more.
Fame?' the one-armed Digger said,
'What of glory when you're dead?'

'Stone and brass,' the Digger said. 'Stone and brass: tho' these endure,
Marble flaunting o'er my head
Would be dead, as I'd be dead.
How may any man be sure
That the hearts of men shall hold
Memories of tales once told?

This alone I surely know: earth I am, and earth shall be,
Only Mother Earth can show,
When I go where all men go,
Aught of this that had been me.
Mother Earth, once stained so red,
She must know,' the Digger said.

'Would you raise, in braggart heaps, stone, cold stone, to mark the fame
Of full many a man who sleeps
Where the earth of Anzac keeps
Guard o'er legions lacking name
Plinth and pillar reared to show
Pomp and pride they cannot know?

'They ask no portentous pile, boasting to a heedless sky,
Stirring men a little while,
Subject, then, for sigh or smile,
Not for this do soldiers die,
With our passing let Pride be,
All we ask is Memory:

'Memory of such fair worth as a fighting man may claim,
And a plot of hallowed earth
In the city of our birth:
Earth that bears a hallowed name.
Let it be envisioned there:
Anzac worth in Anzac Square.

'Memory,' the Digger said. 'If so be the city judge
Soldiers worthy, who have bled.
Worthy of her love, the dead,
Shall the city, then, begrudge
One wide acre of her soil
For who saved the whole from spoil?

'Here, it may be, by God's grace, our son's sons may sit at last,
In the People's market place,
Knowing truly, as they trace
Memory of me long past,
'Tis enshrined forever there:
Anzac worth in Anzac Square.'

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Poem Submitted: Friday, August 31, 2012

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