The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

The Battlefield

Around no fire the soldiers sleep to-night,

But lie a-wearied on the ice-bound field,

With cloaks wrapt round their sleeping forms, to shield

Them from the northern winds. Ere comes the light

Of morn brave men must arm, stern foes to fight.

The sentry stands, his limbs with cold congealed;

His head a-nod with sleep; he cannot yield,

Though sleep and snow in deadly force unite.

Amongst the sleepers lies the Boy awake,

And wide-eyed plans brave glories that transcend

The deeds of heroes dead; then dreams o'ertake

His tired-out brain, and lofty fancies blend

To one grand theme, and through all barriers break

To guard from hurt his faithful sleeping friend.