The Great War

from Poems of the Great War, an electronic edition

The Reapers

Red are the hands of the Reapers,

And the harvest is so white!

Red are the feet that are treading

The threshing floors by night:

And, on the young brows, dripping

As with the dews of morn,

Deep rose-red are the woundings,

Like scars of a crown of thorn.

Tired, so many, with reaping, --

Tired with treading the grain,

Still they lie, in their sleeping,

Low in the Valley of Pain, --

Never again to be quaffing

The joy of life, like wine;

Never again to be laughing

In Youth's glad hour divine.

Birds shall sing in the branches,

Children dance by the shore;

But they who shared the red reaping

Shall come back never more.

Let whoso can forget them,

Walking life's noisy ways;

We who have looked on the Reapers

Go quietly, all our days.

France, 1916.

(Chaplain of the Force.)