The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

The Refugees

PAST the marching men, where the great road runs,

Out of burning Ypres the pale women came:

One was a widow (listen to the guns!)--

She wheeled a heaped--up barrow. One walked lame

And dragged two little children at her side

Tired and coughing with the dust.

The third

Nestled a dead child on her breast and tried

To suckle him. They never spoke a word.

So they came down along the Ypres road.

A soldier stayed his mirth to watch them pass,

Turned and in silence helped them with their load,

And led them to a field and gave them bread.

I saw them hide their faces in the grass

And cry, as women might when Christ was dead.