The Great War

from A Calendar of Verse, an electronic edition

The Stars and Stripes

We who in the old days -- the easy days of pleasuring --

Loitered in the distant lands -- we know the thrill that came

When in far, foreign places, above the stranger faces,

The sight of it, the might of it, would wake us like a flame.

Our own flag, the one flag, it stirred our blood to claim.

We who in these new days -- these days of all confusion --

Look upon it with the eyes of one long blind who sees.

We know at last its beauty -- its magnitude of duty --

Dear God! if thus it seems to us, what will it mean to those

Who stay for it, who pray for it, our kindred over seas?

These who face the red days -- the white nights of fury,

Where death like some mad reaper hacks down the living grain --

They shall see our flag arise like a glory in the skies --

The stars of it, the bars of it, that prove it once again

The new flag, the true flag, that does not come in vain!