The Great War

from Late Songs, an electronic edition

The Welcome

We will not banish them as they were lost,

But in our daily talk their names be most,

Nor from our laughter be they shut away.

We shall tell over fond old stories of them

When they were little and we leant above them

Guarding from danger as God's angels may.

They come no more as they were used to come,

Yet in the quiet dawning and the gloam

Whose eyes are in the shadow and whose smile

Wavers and vanishes? Oh, is it you,

Child, are you come, with darkness and the dew,

To sit down and give comfort for a while?

To sit down as of old and lay your face

On a poor heart you have left comfortless,

To draw fond arms about your golden head,

So glad because you are not put away

Out of familiar things of every day,

Like a sad ghost dreaming that he is dead.