The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

The Anvil

Burned from the ore's rejected dross,

The iron whitens in the heat.

With plangent strokes of pain and loss

The hammers on the iron beat.

Searched by the fire, through death and dole

We feel the iron in our soul.

O dreadful Forge! if torn and bruised

The heart, more urgent comes our cry

Not to be spared but to be used,

Brain, sinew, and spirit, before we die.

Beat out the iron, edge it keen,

And shape us to the end we mean!