The Great War

from Herb o' Grace, an electronic edition

Any Mother

"What's the news? Now tell it me."

"Allenby again advances."

"No, it is not Allenby

But my boy, straight as a lance is.

"Oh, my boy it is that runs,

Hurls his young and slender body

On the dread death-dealing guns.

Oh, he's down! his head is bloody!"

"Haig's offensive has begun."

"Say not Haig's nor any other,

Since it is my one sweet son

In the gases' risk and smother.

"He is taken by the throat,

In the bursting flame will quiver,

He the billet for all shot,

He the shell's objective ever."

So not Allenby nor Haig,

But her darling goes to battle.

All the world's red mist and vague

Shattered by the scream and rattle.

Just one slender shape she sees,

One bright head tossed hither, thither;

Oh, if he goes down the seas

Whelm her and the world together!