The Great War

from More Songs By the Fighting Men, an electronic edition

The Shrine

THE first bright spears have pierced the armoured brown.

Broadened and drooped, and snowdrops speck the field:

The lengthening gaze of daylight looking down

Is shocked to see the hedge-row winter sealed

Sleeping in nakedness, and stirs her frame

And with the hawthorn bids her hide her shame.

Returning through the fields at evening hour

I lay before Thy shrine my offering.

My candle-flame a yellow crocus flower,

Its life but newly lit to Thee I bring

In thanks that I can see Thy guiding hand

In every flower that decorates the land.

Billets, France, March, 1917.