The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

The Crown

WRITE us your verse, oh, soldier, tell us the grim, red tale,

Learned on the field of battle, where bullets fell like hail.

Pen us the ghastly story, of thousands of slaughtered men,

Till our souls are sick with horror. And then, oh, soldier, then,

Tell us in tender accents, how men with hearts of gold

Succored their wounded brothers; stripped in the biting cold

To cover the dead and dying. Give us our faith again,

Our belief in a God Almighty, in a Brotherhood of Man.

Paint us a canvas, soldier, a picture of fire and flame!

Men, mad with the lust of killing, playing their grisly game!

Show us the dead-strewn hillsides, guarding the blood-drenched plain,

A picture of war's grim horrors. And then, oh, soldier, then,

Draw is the white-capped nurses, doctors with skilful hands,

Counting their lives as nothing when human need demands

All that they have to offer. Paint us the women and men

Who bring the joy of living back to our hearts again.

Sing us a song, oh, soldier, chant in a martial strain,

Those who have died in battle, those who come home again.

Call us the mothers of heroes, call us the mothers of men,

Till our hearts are torn and bleeding. And then, oh, soldier, then,

Play us in minor cadence, a harp with a tautened string,

Set to a heavenly music, the songs the angels sing,

Of a world by Love safeguarded, where wars shall ever cease,

Sing us at last oh, soldier, the Song of Eternal Peace.