John Le Gay Brereton was born in Sydney, Australia, on the 2nd of September 1871. He was the fifth son of John Le Gay Brereton (snr), a doctor, and his wife Mary Tongue. His parents and family life impacted greatly on his view of the world, distorting it from the views of the norm of the times. John senior was also a poet, and published several volumes of poetry. John junior went to school at Sydney grammar school, and was just 15 when his father died in 1886. John moved on to study at the University of Sydney, and graduated with a bachelor of Arts in 1894.
John was the editor of many newspapers, including his school paper, as well as the university paper: Hermes, and after 1890, John was a regular contributor to the Sydney quarterly magazine. Through his press ties, his poetry and literature became better known than that of most poets of the era. John produced his first poetry anthology in 1896, titled: the song of brotherhood and other verses. John produced another anthology in 1897 titled: sweetheart mine: lyrics of love and friendship.
The year 1900 saw John marry Winifred Odd. In 1902, John returned to the university of Sydney, as the librarian’s assistant. He was known among the students and staff at the university to defy the way of the time by never wearing a top hat. In 1908, john published his 3rd volume of poetry titled: sea and sky. Another volume followed after the first world war, in 1919, titled: the Burning Marl. 2 years after releasing his fourth volume, he was appointed professor of English at the University of Sydney.
John produced his final volume: Swags up! In 1928, and produced a series of autobiographical essays in 1930. In 1993 John went on holiday in Tamworth, and died there whilst still on holiday. John died friends with more widely known poets such as Henry Lawson. John’s wife and 4 children all survived him.Anthology ANZAC
Within my heart I hear the cry
Of loves that suffer, souls that die,
And you may have no praise from me
For warfare’s vast vulgarity;
Only the flag of love, unfurled
For peace above a weeping world,
I follow, though the fiery breath
Of murder shrivel me in death.
Yet here I stand and bow my head
To those whom other banners led,
Because within their hearts the clang
Of Freedom’s summoning trumpets rang,
Because they welcomed grisly pain
And laughed at prudence, mocked at gain,
With noble hope and courage high,
And taught our manhood how to die.
Praise, praise and love be theirs who came
From that red hell of stench and flame,
Staggering, bloody, sick, but still
Strong with indomitable will,
Happy because, in gloomiest night,
Their own hearts drummed them to the fight.
I chose the poem ANZAC because of it’s descriptive language, truth, and it’s use of the harsh reality of war, while not glorifying war in any way. The Poet uses a mixture of descriptive text, rhyming words and rhythm to display his views on World War 1. His use of scary and uncomfortable words really reflect this message that war is a sick and gruesome place.Toby Hey, Toby, Toby, Toby!—Dead?
The silence is a flood
That closes, choking, overhead,
And chills the living blood.
The leaping friend, whose jolly bark
Was greeting every night,
No more to thrill the summer dark
With welcome of delight?
Beside his grave I bend the knee,
And O, my eyes are dim.
He hunted for the dog in me:
I found the man in him.
Swags up! and yet I turn upon the way.
The yellow hill against a dapple sky,
With tufts and clumps of thorn, the bush whereby
All through the wonder-pregnant night I lay
Until the silver stars were merged in grey
Our fragrant camp, demand a parting sigh:
New tracks, new camps, and hearts for ever high,
Yet brief regret with every welcome day.
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