The Great War

from More Songs By the Fighting Men, an electronic edition

On Seeing the Coast of England from
Boulogne

ALONG low line of polished white

Faintly the cliffs of England gleam,

Now slowly fading out of sight,

Now swiftly leaping back, they seem

Strange joys, strange sorrows to impart.

And voices whisper at my heart.

A quiet wood, a quiet lane.

The song of birds amid the trees.

The splash of sun, the sting of rain,

The warm sweet air, the sighing breeze,

And you beside our cottage door

At eventide. Dear heart, once more

I see the first faint sunbeam tip

The East with gold, the hills light up.

Or stealing lower softly sip

The dewdrop from the rose's cup;

The glint of gorse upon the down.

The long ploughed meadow strong and brown.

We wander 'mid the grassfield where

The busy reaper wends his way,

The sharp scythe flashes on the air.

Heavy the scent of new-mown hay

Floats down the breeze, and all around

The stricken poppies strew the ground.

Slowly my half-felt sorrows go

And hope comes, gazing seaward where

The dim cliffs glitter, for I know

That these and you await me there.

And I shall find them dearer far

Enriched by all the pangs of war.