Christ at Gallipoli

By Geoff Page b. 1940 Geoff Page

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.

Geoff Page, Christ at Gallopoli” text from Small Town Memorials, University of Queensland Press, 1975; audio from Coffee with Miles, Audio CD, River Road Press, 2009: by permission of River Road Press and the poet. Copyright © 1975, 2009 by Geoff Page.

Source: Small Town Memorials (Picaro Press, 1975)

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Poet Geoff Page b. 1940

POET’S REGION Australia and Pacific

Subjects Christianity, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Epigraph, Free Verse


Australian poet, novelist, editor, and biographer Geoff Page was born in Grafton, on the north coast of New South Wales, and educated at the University of New England. His poems frequently make use of rhyme and meter as they explore faith and cultural memory. Page is the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including Small Town Memorials (1975), Selected Poems (1991), and Seriatim (2007). He is the author of the . . .

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Poems by Geoff Page

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Christianity, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION Australia and Pacific

Poetic Terms Epigraph, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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