The Great War

from More Songs By the Fighting Men, an electronic edition

Spring in Picardy

WHEN earth was bare, and sky a murky pall,

And snow and sleet filled all the miles and

days

That held us two asunder, all my gaze

Was bounded by an impenetrable wall

Of chill, numbed, burdened hours, that rose so tall

I only dimly knew that your fair ways

Lay far beyond it, where desire could raise

To bring you nearer, no sufficient call.

Ah God! that blank was better borne than this

Flushed wantonness of May, these maiden leaves

That bare themselves to bathe in the ardent

moon.

There is a false note in the wood-dove's croon;

And all is meaningless, show that deceives.

Hollow, lacking its core and clue—your kiss.