The Great War

from More Songs By the Fighting Men, an electronic edition

At Sunset: September, 1917

O LIVING beauty of the dying day!

All the ungathered splendour of the hours

Is folded in your heart, as all the wealth

Of June lies perfect in a crimson rose,

We who, unheeding, watched the little pools

Of rippling light that underlay the trees.

And saw the clear young arrows shoot the gloom

Of chambers darkly curtain'd with no surprise.

Kneel to the regal miracle which lends

To death the august mystery life forbade.

And now upon these fields are gathered up

In one great blood-red rose of sacrifice

All unremembered buds of love and faith

That shy young lives erst offered Freedom's crowns

And to this fierce consuming altar fire.

That speaks a God-ward world in tongues of flame.

Each spark of heart's devotion lends its strength.

Each candle-point of truth its warmth and light.