The Great War

from A Calendar of Verse, an electronic edition


O land of music and of dream,

Your songs are dead!

O morning-rose, O twilight-gleam,

Forever fled!

Now, through your thunder-cloud of wrath,

We see but frenzy's aftermath --

Stark ruin following every path

Your legions tread.

Was this your dream -- a baleful light

In stormy space?

Your soul -- a threatening shape of blight,

With hate-wrung face?

What madness moves you to rejoice

In women's woe -- in terror's voice?

Is this the music of your choice,

Your song of grace?

Now from your shattered flutes we hear

A long, harsh cry,

The note of passion and of fear,

That will not die:

And ever, on the desolate sea,

Your shamed and haunted ships must flee

Child-faces, floating silently

Under God's sky.