Distant Fields / ANZAC Parades

About the Author:

  • Rhian Gallagher (born 1961) is a poet from New Zealand.  She lived in London for many years before returning to New Zealand in 2006. 
  • Her first book of poems Salt Water Creek (Enitharmon Press, 2003) was published in London and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for First Collection in 2003.

After returning to New Zealand, Gallagher won a Canterbury History Foundation Award in 2007, and wrote Feeling for Daylight: The Photographs of Jack Adamson


  • Rhian Gallagher tried to capture and portray the very atmosphere of the ANZAC Parade. This parade occurs once every year on ANZAC Day, in an effort to remember and honor those who died fighting in the war of 1914. Gallagher uses many different references and allusions to best convey her message, one of which is in lines 1-4 of stanza 1, “medalled, ribboned chest, an effort carried through them, the war still going on inside their heads, gathered up for roll call.” This alludes to how the soldiers are feeling nostalgic for remembering the war


  • Sorrow
  • Grief
  • Honor
  • War
  • Life everlasting


  • ANZAC- Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, They were courageous soldiers who, even though failed in its military objectives in the Gallipoli campaign, left Australia and New Zealand in a powerful legacy.
  • ANZAC Parade- A significant road and through fare in the Australian capital Canbera, is used for many special occasions such as funerals and memorials.
  • Mass- A funeral for several dead people at the same time.
  • Bugle- “Taps,” The distinctive bugle melody played at U.S. military funerals and memorials.
  • Bird-light zone- (Avian lights) Basically refers to the sky where birds fly and light comes from.


I feel that this Gallagher wrote this poem to pay homage to the soldiers who have died fighting for her country. She describes the parade so that the audience can sense the patriotism and devotion the Australian’s have towards their country. The poem successfully conveys the raw emotion of grief and sadness that surrounds such an occasion but also captures the beauty and hope that people get from watching the parade every year.


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