The Great War

from The Holy War, an electronic edition

The Perfect Playmate

Roger Charles Noel Bellingham. Before Ypres, March 4th, 1915

The Perfect Playmate, whither does he stray

That now no more his feet come up this way

That rang so blithe upon the nursery floor?

Wild games and laughter! Now the little son

Listens and longs, and his small world's undone.

The Perfect Playmate will return no more.

Who else made holidays of rainy days?

Who told such marvels by the firelight blaze?

King of misrule when Christmas frosts were hoar.

But now the black-gowned mother's tears will flow

Whether her little son be good or no.

The Perfect Playmate will return no more.

Who built the sands, dug deep, was never loth

Nor ever tired: was strong enough for both:

Home on his shoulders a small drowsy head bore;

Was ever smiling. The boy keeps apart

A gay young smiling father in his heart.

The Perfect Playmate will return no more!

No more, no more! Himself a boy he goes

Beyond the uttermost peaks, the eternal snows:

Light on his young brown head from an open door.

His youth unwithered, smiling all the way,

Into the land of youth, the Spring of Day.

The Perfect Playmate will return no more.