The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

The Quiet Heart.

OLD man, herding in the dell

Peaceful sheep with crook and bell

Underneath a country sky,

I wish my thoughts might pass me by,

And leave me quiet as you are

To love the dawn and evening star.

I saw them leave me one by one,

My oldest to my youngest son;

I watched them leave this quiet place

And journey out in God's good grace.

They rode beyond the heathered fell,

I waved my crook and cried farewell;

All young they were, and strong, and kind-

I stayed at home my sheep to mind.

"One fell in Belgium, and one

Lies 'neath a farther fiercer sun.

One perished in his first advance,

And gave his blood to gentle France.

One sleeps within the ocean's brim,

And only God has news of him.

All, all are fallen, every one,

My eldest to my youngest son.

"There's tending to be done at morn,

And when the weak young lambs are born;

On all the countryside there streams

The light of Spring with its young dreams.

There's some that stay that fain would go-

It pleases God to have it so.

His will it was to take and keep,

And leave me here to mind my sheep."

(The Windsor Magazine, July, 1915