The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

Let There Be Light!

B LACK with the blackness of hell and despair

Village and village and village lay there;

Never a candle and never a lamp--

Four hundred miles of the enemies' camp.

Trains of munitions that creak with their loads,

Supplies, horses, soldiers engulfed by the roads;

An ambulance crawling, a password, and then

Through the shell-shattered houses the marching of men.

Black with the blackness of wounds and of death

The villages huddled there holding their breath;

Black--till there rang this new order to "Cease"--

"It is over!--all over!--the war!--there is peace!

Come, dance on the ruins--Look, No Man's Land there,

"Verboten" for years, is a world's thoroughfare;

And village and village, remember the night,

But turn it to day--and let there be light.

The sorrow unburied, destruction--how much!

Four hundred long miles for the taper to touch!

The shades are undrawn, the lamps shining bright;

It is dawn in the darkness; again There Is Light!