The Great War

from Herb o' Grace, an electronic edition

The Brothers

(For Arnold and Donald Fletcher.)

One called from Salonika and his call

Rang to his brother;

Forded wide rivers, climbed the mountain wall,

Seeking the other.

Are you asleep, Arnold, or do you wake?

Our way's together!

The day's before us and the path we take

Over the heather.

As oft before, breasting the Wicklow hills,

Light-foot and leaping

Over the bog-pools and the singing rills,

Side by side keeping.

We have known all the best that life can give,

Tasted the sweetest;

Shall we grow old, lag heavy-foot and grieve,

We, who were fleetest?

Let us be gone while yet it is the morn

Dewy before us,

Light on the mountains and the springing corn

And the lark o'er us!

The voice from Salonika found the way

Easy of passage,

And to French Flanders on the second day

Carried the message.

Arnold has gone the way that Donald went,

Donald's o'ertaken;

Up to the highest peaks they climb unspent,

Footing the bracken.