The Great War

from Herb o' Grace, an electronic edition

The Short Road to Heaven

There's a short road to Heaven, but you must take it young,

And if you're for long living the road is all as long;

A long road, a hard road, with many a turn and twist.

The longer you'll be travelling, the easier it's missed.

But the wise lads, the dear lads, they've put it to the touch,

The lads of sweet-and-twenty, and maybe not so much;

'Tis the green way they've taken in the spring of their year,

When all their birds are singing to make them pleasant cheer.

The long road is dusty and never a streamlet sings,

The dust lies on the hedgerows and on the birdies' wings;

The longer that you travel the wearier you are

And the farther off is Heaven and the stars are far.

But the wise lads, the dear lads, the pathway's dewy green,

For the little Knights of Paradise of eighteen and nineteen;

They run the road to Heaven, they are singing as they go,

And the blood of their sacrifice has washed them white as snow.

The young mothers' darlings, ah, who would bid them stay?

The short road to Heaven's a green and pleasant way;

They run singing and leaping, they will be in before

The night darkens on them -- and there's God at the door.