The Great War

from The Volunteer and Other Poems, an electronic edition

The Fallen Spire.
(A Flemish Village).

THE spire is gone, that slept for centuries,

Mirrored among the lilies, calm and low:

And now the water holds but empty skies,

Through which the rivers of the thunder flow.

The church lies broken near the fallen spire:

For here, among these old and human things,

Death sweeps along the street with feet of fire,

And goes upon his way with moaning wings.

On pavements by the kneeling herdsmen worn

The drifting fleeces of the shells are rolled

Above the Saints a village Christ forlorn,

Wounded again, looks down upon his fold.

And silence follows fast: no evening peace,

But leaden stillness, when the thunder wanes,

Haunting the slender branches of the trees,

And settling low upon the listless plains.