The Great War

from The Holy War, an electronic edition

The Dear Brown Head

James Cecil Johnston. Suvla. August 9th, 1915

Only an hour ago we were fearful for you,

Knowing the death and the darkness behind and before you.

Years ago it might be since we were afraid.

Nothing can harm you now, O dear brown head!

You have come into port with a favouring wind;

We are tossing yet in the seas unkind.

All around you the light and glory are shed;

We are in darkness without you, dear brown head!

Heart and soul of a boy, simple and merry,

Never now to grow old, never be weary.

Light in the Land of the Young is your springing tread.

Long and heavy the road to you, dear brown head!

The House of God is full in the August days --

Full of the young coming home by the bitter ways.

Their beds are made near God, and the table spread,

And you lying down, sitting down with them, dear brown head!