The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

Thomas of the Light Heart

Facing the guns, he jokes as well

As any Judge upon the Bench;

Between the crash of shell and shell

His laughter rings along the trench;

He seems immensely tickled by a

Projectile which he calls a "Black Maria."

He whistles down the day-long road,

And, when the chilly shadows fall

And heavier hangs the weary load,

Is he down-hearted? Not at all.

'T is then he takes a light and airy

View of the tedious route to Tipperary.

His songs are not exactly hymns;

He never learned them in the choir;

And yet they brace his dragging limbs

Although they miss the sacred fire;

Although his choice and cherished gems

Do not include "The Watch upon the Thames."

He takes to fighting as a game;

He does no talking, through his hat,

Of holy missions; all the same

He has his faith -- be sure of that;

He'll not disgrace his sporting breed,

Nor play what is n't cricket. There's his creed.

October, 1914