The Great War

from Poems of the Great War, an electronic edition

The Trumpet

Thy trumpet lies in the dust.

The wind is weary, the light is dead. Ah, the evil day!

Come fighters, carrying your flags and singers with your songs!

Come pilgrims, hurrying on your journey!

The trumpet lies in the dust waiting for us.

I was on my way to the temple with my evening offerings,

Seeking for the heaven of rest after the day's dusty toil;

Hoping my hurts would be healed and stains in my garments washed white,

When I found thy trumpet lying in the dust.

Has it not been the time for me to light my lamp?

Has my evening not come to bring me sleep?

O, thou blood-red rose, where have my poppies faded?

I was certain my wanderings were over and my debts all paid

When suddenly I came upon thy trumpet lying in the dust.

Strike my drowsy heart with thy spell of youth!

Let my joy in life blaze up in fire.

Let the shafts of awakening fly piercing the heart of night and a thrill of dread shake the palsied blindness,

I have come to raise thy trumpet from the dust.

Sleep is no more for me -- my walk shall be through showers of arrows.

Some shall run out of their houses and come to my side -- some shall weep.

Some in their beds shall toss and groan in dire dreams:

For to-night thy trumpet shall be sounded.

From thee I had asked peace only to find shame.

Now I stand before thee -- help me to don my armor!

Let hard blows of trouble strike fire into my life.

Let my heart beat in pain -- beating the drum of thy victory.

My hands shall be utterly emptied to take up thy trumpet.