The Great War

from The Man Who Saw, an electronic edition

Belgium

O LITTLE ship among the Dreadnoughts vast,

Where is the Dreadnought that is great as thou?

The seas break over thee from poop to prow;

Gone are thy sails and rigging, gone each mast;

Thy tackle and gear are to the midnight cast;

But though the tempest ripped and stripped thee, how

Thy crew and Captain bore them is ev'n now

As Saga and Song that light the unpassing Past.

Thou need'st not the world's tears! The coldly wise

That, safely harboured, clutch the sheltering lee,

With something of strange envy in their eyes

Gaze on the splendour of thine agony,

And hear the fleets of God saluting thee,

From anchorage old, under no neutral skies.