The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

A Little Town in Senegal

I HEAR the throbbing music down the lanes of Afric rain:

The Afric spring is breaking, down in Senegal again.

O little town in Senegal, amid the clustered gums,

Where are your sturdy village lads, who one time danced to drums?

At Soissons, by a fountain wall, they sang their melodies;

And some now lie in Flemish fields, beside the northern seas;

And some tonight are camped and still, along the Marne and Aisne;

And some are dreaming of the palms that bend in Afric rain.

The music of the barracks half awakes them from their dream;

They smile and sink back sleepily along the Flemish stream.

They dream the baobab's white buds have opened overnight;

Thev dream they see the solemn cranes that bask in morning light.

I hear the great drums beating in the square across the plain.

Where are the tillers of the soil, the gallant, loyal train?

O little town in Senegal, amid the white--bud trees,

At Soissons, in Picardv, went north the last of these!