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One who Died: In Memory of E.W.T.S.

Leon Gellert 1892 (Australia) – 1977



I mind they told me on a noisy hill
I sat and disbelieved, and shook my head:
“Impossible! Impossible! but still
these other men have died, and others bled”.
Knees clasped, I sat and thought, unheeding war.
The trees, the winds, the streets came back to me;
The laughter of his eyes, his home afar,
The memory of his hopes, his buoyancy,
His dreams, his jests, his moods of wistfulness,
The quaintness of his speech, his favourite song;
And this, -and this the end so pitiless!
The man we knew! The man we knew so long!
- To die-be dead-not move, and this was he!
I rose and oiled my rifle musingly.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Leon Gellert

Leon Maxwell Gellert was an Australian poet. He was born in Walkerville, a suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. He was subjected to bullying by his father, a Methodist of Hungarian extraction, to which he reacted by learning self-defence at the YMCA. After an education at Adelaide High School, he embarked on a teaching career; first as a student-teacher at Unley High School then at the University of Adelaide's Teacher Training College. He enlisted with the Australian Imperial Forces 10th Battalion within weeks of the outbreak of the Great War and sailed for Cairo on 22 October 1914. He landed at Ari Burnu Beach, Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, was wounded and repatriated as medically unfit in June 1916. He attempted to re-enlist but was soon found out. He returned to teaching at Norwood Public School. During periods of inactivity he had been indulging his appetite for writing poetry. Songs of a Campaign was his first published book of verse, and was favourably reviewed by The Bulletin. Angus & Robertson soon published a new edition, illustrated by Norman Lindsay. His second, The Isle of San, also illustrated by Lindsay, was not so well received however. more…

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