The Great War

from The Holy War, an electronic edition

The Father

Captain Patrick Tobin, R.D.F. Suvla, August 15th, 1915

Ever his eyes are fixed on a glorious sight.

A boy is leading, calls his men to come on:

Light as a deer he leaps, slender and bright,

Up the hill, irresistible: it is won!

Ever he sees the boy against the sky,

A slender Victory, light on his golden head.

Hardly the down on his lip he hath leaped so high,

His name is writ among the undying Dead.

Captain at one-and-twenty! Much was to come,

Great things yet to be done, heights to be scaled;

Love and comradeship, all fruition of bloom.

He has attained to the highest. Not he who failed!

The mother weeps her boy who comes not again.

The Father sees him, splendid and laughing still,

Leaping like a young deer, calling his men.

The glory dazzles! The boy's keeping the hill!