The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

Pershing at the Tomb of Lafayette

From Amelia Josephine Burr's book of poems, "The Silver Trumpet." Published and copyright, 1918, by George H. Doran Company, New York. Special permission to reproduce in this book.

THEY knew they were fighting our war. As the months grew to years

Their men and their women had watched through their blood and their tears

For a sign that we knew, we who could not have come to be free

Without France, long ago. And at last from the threatening sea

The stars of our strength on the eyes of their weariness rose

And he stood among them, the sorrow-strong hero we chose

To carry our flag to the tomb of that Frenchman whose name

A man of our country could once more pronounce without shame.

What crown of rich words would he set for all time on this day?

The past and the future were listening what he would say--

Only this, from the white--flaming heart of a passion austere,

Only this--ah, but France understood "Lafayette, we are here."