Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A book and its author: Gary Hekimian and Earth Poems for Time

Gary Hekimian is an Australian-Armenian whose book Earth Poems for Time: Scenes from the Australian War Memorial  was published in 2005.

Hekimian's work has appeared in RAFT, ANU Poets Lunch, Narooma News, Pelican Post and in anthologies A Flight of Pelicans, Kids Granthology and Days of Innocents.

A Footnote

In a far corner
On a wooden shelf
In the Uniforms Section
Of the War to End Wars
Lies an old bandolier
With a bullet hole
Through one its pockets.

The belt had been worn 
By a janissari
When the bullet
Fired by an Australian
Pierced the man's heart

The relic thus connects with
And depicts the horrors
That went on in secret
Behind the war zones.

Just a day before
The Anzac Cove landing
The Young Turks were busy
Rounding up the Armenians
On a long death march
Across the desert
Into what was then
Part of the ancient
Ottaman Empire --
Syria, Lebanon
And Mesopotamia.

The janissaris,
Inmates of prisons,
Now released and joined
By other criminals,
Formed the butchers gangs
Recruited to 'guard'
The victims of the march.

Young women and children
Writers and poets,
Members of Parliament,
Old men and clergyman,
And pregnant women,
Thus perished on the way
Starved to death, sun-scorched
Or killed by butcher gangs
No trains to transport
The victimes to their end
The death march was their end
A million and a half
Massacred in transit.
The first recorded, they say,
Genocide of all times.

24 April 2005

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