The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

Afterward

THE sick man said: "I pray I shall not die

Before this tumult which now rocks the earth

Shall cease. I dread far journeyings to God

Ere I have heard the final shots of war,

And learned the outcome of this holocaust."

Yet one night, while the guns still roared and flashed,

His spirit left his body; left the earth

Which he had loved in sad, disastrous days,

And sped to heav'n amid the glittering stars

And the white splendor of the quiet moon.

One instant--and a hundred years rushed by!

And he, a new immortal, found his way

Among the great celestial hills of God.

Then suddenly one memory of earth

Flashed like a meteor's flame across his mind.

One instant--and another hundred years!

And even the dream of that poor little place

Which he had known was lost in greater spheres

Through which he whirled; and old remembrances

Were but as flecks of dust blown down the night;

And nothing mattered, save that suns and moons

Swung in the ether for unnumbered worlds

High above the pebble of the earth.