Deni Hoxha Sonnets
The Cloth Hall in the great market square at Ypres (Ieper) in Belgium. In April 1915, a great battle occurred near the town between Allied French and British armies, and the German Imperial Army. On 28 April 1915 a local photographer, known simply as ‘Anthony of Ypres’, took his camera to the Cloth Hall and recorded what he called the derniers fugitifs a Ypres – 'the last fugitives of Ypres' – a man pushing a wheelbarrow with an elderly woman on a mattress on top of it, and beside him a woman pushing another barrow with a bundle of belongings. Dominating the scene is the burnt-out frame of the Cloth Hall. Pictures like this appeared in newspapers throughout the world, including Australia, illustrating the destruction of war and the plight of civilians.
Australian army divisions participated in the Third Battle of Ypres, which took place in 1917.
Image source: PAMS 2016 photo collection
The Anzac Legend
‘Known unto god’ – the face of faceless men.
Rooted in soil all around the Earth,
Upon which Australia would bleed again.
The fledging nation sought to prove its worth.
Forth these men marched, adventurous and brave,
Straight past the alien, fiery gates of hell,
Surely into their unmarked, early grave.
Mothers cried louder than bullets could yell.
Yet from silent mouths there was sung a verse,
Of immortal valour and compassion.
Their spirits rose and served to immerse,
The nation in perpetual passion.
Thus Australia’s lost sons returned to her,
Their sacrifices keeping it as it were.
Pozieres and Fromelles
The nightmares of a nation run rampant,
Soldiers rush the Western wildfire.
They spread across corrupted planes lambent,
Beckoning machine guns to expire.
Fromelles inducts through bloody holocaust.
Shells rain down, their deafening screams pierce
Noxious air; the stench of slaughter exhausts.
Casualties lay strewn, their cries of woe fierce.
Pozieres transforms the sweet scenes of home,
Into manifestations of dismay.
Men turn into machines of war to roam
Battlefields fatally clearing the way.
Ordinary men alter absolutely.
Scenes of carnage convey dread acutely.