The Great War

from More Songs By the Fighting Men, an electronic edition

Sonnets

I

WEARY of strife and sickening at the thought

My soul desires release, and as I gaze

Upon the barrenness that war hath wrought,

Another vision rises in a haze

Of phantasy—I see a place of rest

All bathed in sunlight and the scent of flowers,

Where Time has fall'n asleep on Nature's breast,

And none may mark the. tread of passing hours.

And in the fairest part of all, that seems

The very home of all things pure and good,

A woman sits with half-closed eyes, and dreams

In ecstasy of perfect motherhood.

O wondrous mystery! Behold, the earth

Blossoms again in mystic second birth.

II

A dark grey sky that merges in the west

Into pale primrose, where the fading day

Still lingers like an echo half-expressed

Of some forgotten glory. By the way.

Outlined in black against the sky, there stands

A wayside crucifix among the corn;

Waiting with tired eyes and outstretched hands,

In patient expectation of the morn.

The gentle whisper of the poplar trees

Is hardly loud enough to break the spell

Of mystic silence. From the church tower's height

Comes, wafted onward by the dying breeze.

The solemn tolling of a single bell;

Then silence and the mystery of night.