The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

The Soldier's Folks at Home

From The Christian Herald

WE often sit upon the porch on sultry August nights,

When fireflies out upon the lawn are soft enchanted lights

From Fairyland; when, far away, a vagrant nightingale

Is sobbing from a bursting heart his tragic untold tale.

We often sit upon the porch, quite silently, for we

Are seeing golden wonder-worlds that no one else may see.

My mother sighs; I feel her hand upon my ruffled hair,

The while I know she thinks of one, of one who is not there....

And grandma, with her down-bent head, is dreaming of the day

When to the strains of "Dixie Land" her sweetheart marched away.

And brother stares into the dusk, with vivid eyes aflame,

And hears the stirring call to arms, to battle and to fame!

My little sister, half asleep, holds tight against her breast

A battered doll with china eyes that she herself has dressed;

And baby brother holds my hand, and thinks of cakes and toys

That grow on trees in some fair land for perfect little boys.

And auntie holds her head erect, and seems to dare the fates

With eyes that hold the glowing look of one who hopes and waits.

We often sit upon the porch on sultry August nights

When fireflies out upon the lawn are vague enchanted lights,

And no one speaks, for each one dreams and plans, perhaps, and strays,

A wanderer through years to come, a ghost through bygone days,

And as the stars far in the sky come shining softly through,

My heart and soul are all one prayer--one silver prayer for you