Beersheba

They lined the ridge at sunset and in the waning light

The far-flung line of squadrons came on in headlong flight,

The desert land behind them — in front the fearful fight,

The Wells of old Beersheba must fall before the night …

With cold steel bayonets gleaming, in sodden seas of blood

They raced towards the stronghold, all in a crimson flood,

Such maddening surge of horses, such tumult and such roar

The Wells of old Beersheba had never seen before …

They stormed across the trenches and, so the stories say,

They drove the Moslem gunners as wild winds scatter spray.

No force or fire could turn them on that long maddening run,

The Wells of old Beersheba had fallen with the sun.

And those who came not homeward, their memory is grand —

The Wells of old Beersheba will guard their graves of sand

Edwin Gerard

 

From an article by Peter Craven in The Australian

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