The Great War

from Late Songs, an electronic edition


There were so many to pray for, O dear grey head,

Your day went out unnoted; but when I slept,

Tender and all-forgiving you came from the dead,

Came in my dreams to remind me of trysts unkept.

Never a prayer was offered: no Mass was sung:

I thought day-long on the stranger in bitter need.

Into my dreams, my dear one, as when I was young,

You came and we clung together, O dear grey head.

All night long it was parting, and parting soon—

All night long I was weeping, and weeping sore—

That was the loneliest parting under the moon,

When the day and the night together met at the door.

Dear, but you had to travel so far to remind

Your daughter who went forgetting, ah, cold as the clay!

All night long you stayed with me, fond and kind;

All night long you grieved with me until the day.