The Great War

from Poems of the Great War, an electronic edition

The Airman

Wild wind, and drear, beneath the pale stars blowing,

Whom do you hunt to-night?

Out of the west into the storm-cloud glowing

A biplane wings her flight.

In the grey day-dawn was there no returning,

No homewards for the dead: --

Only a broken wing, a biplane burning,

A shattered airship shed!

O Nation proud, on whose red altar gladly

One more young Life is laid,

Scatter the news -- flutter the posters madly --

"Triumph of British raid!"

What of the Cross they brought to her -- his Mother?

Wanly her dumb lips smiled,

Then whispered: "Give back him -- I had no other --

My Son -- my only child."