The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

The Old Soldier

Lest the young soldiers be strange in heaven,

God bids the old soldier they all adored

Come to Him and wait for them, clean, new-shriven,

A happy doorkeeper in the House of the Lord.

Lest it abash them, the strange new splendour,

Lest it affright them, the new robes clean;

Here's an old face, now, long-tried, and tender,

A word and a hand-clasp as they troop in.

"My boys," he greets them: and heaven is homely,

He their great captain in days gone o'er;

Dear is the friend's face, honest and comely,

Waiting to welcome them by the strange door.