The Great War

from War, The Liberator and Other Pieces, an electronic edition

To Sylvia

Two months ago the skies were blue,

The fields were fresh and green,

And green the willow tree stood up,

With the lazy stream between.

Two months ago we sat and watched

The river drifting by--

And now--you're back at your work again

And here in a ditch I lie.

God knows--my dear--I did not want

To rise and leave you so,

But the dead men's hands were beckoning

And I knew that I must go.

The dead men's eyes were watching, lass,

Their lips were asking too,

We faced it out and payed the price--

Are we betrayed by you?

The days are long between, dear lass,

Before we meet again,

Long days of mud and work for me,

For you long care and pain.

But you'll forgive me yet, my dear,

Because of what you know,

I can look my dead friends in the face

As I couldn't two months ago.

October 20th, 1917