The Great War

from Poems of the Great War, an electronic edition

The Wayside Calvary

Now with the full year Memory holds her tryst

Heavy with such a tale of bitter loss

As never Earth has suffered since the Christ

Hung for us on the Cross.

If God, O Kaiser, makes the vision plain:

Gives you on some lone Calvary to see

The Man of Sorrows Who endured the pain

And died to set us free --

How will you face beneath its Crown of thorn

That Figure stark against the smoking skies,

The Arms outstretched, the Sacred Head forlorn

And those reproachful Eyes?

How dare confront the false quest with the true

Or think what gulfs between the ideals lie

Of Him Who died that men might live -- and you

Who live that men may die.

Ah, turn your eyes away: He reads your heart;

Pass on and, having done your work abhorred,

Join hands with Judas in his place apart,

You who betrayed your Lord.


(Lines written on the anniversary of the outbreak of the war.)