The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

Poppies

POPPIES in the wheat fields on the pleasant hills of France,

Reddening in the summer breeze that bids them nod and dance;

Over them the skylark sings his lilting, liquid tune--

Poppies in the wheat fields, and all the world in June.

Poppies in the wheat fields on the road to Monthiers--

Hark, the spiteful rattle where the masked machine guns play!

Over them the shrapnel's song greets the summer morn--

Poppies in the wheat fields--but, ah, the fields are torn.

See the stalwart Yankee lads, never ones to blench,

Poppies in their helmets as they clear the shallow trench,

Leaping down the furrows with eager, boyish tread

Through the poppied wheat field to the flaming woods ahead.

Poppies in the wheat fields as sinks the summer sun,

Broken, bruised and trampled--but the bitter day is won;

Yonder in the woodland where the flashing rifles shine,

With their poppies in their helmets, the front files hold the line,

Poppies in the wheat fields; how' still beside them lie

Scattered forms that stir not when the star shells burst on high;

Gently bending o'er them beneath the moon's soft glance,

Poppies of the wheat fields on the ransomed hills of France