Thursday 27 November 2014

In Memoriam

The sword and the shield of the valiant are broken;
     In fragments they lie on the war-beaten field;
To him who hath borne them the Chieftain hath spoken,
     "No longer the weapons of earth you shall wield.
Come up higher my soldier, your warfare is ended;
     The peace of your Lord shall be yours evermore;
The outposts assigned you, right well you defended,
     In the face of the foeman, my standard you bore."

So his ashes were laid on the lap of the mountain;
     When the purple heath bloomed on the grey crags above;
Where a streamlet, new born, gushes pure from its fountain,
     Fit symbols or purity, life, and of love.
And now he rests well from his labours and sorrows;
     And his place in the fast-thinning ranks is a void;
While we, faltering, think of the doubtful to-morrows,
     And forget that the anchor holds firm, and is buoyed.
For we see not the Rock that the anchor is gripping,
     And but dimly the buoy that marks where it lies;
But we do see the sun in the red west dipping,
     While o’er all hangs the pall of the stormladen skies.


This poem appeared in The Witness of 11th September 1914.
Image: Courcelette Sunset by Paul Reed

No comments:

Post a Comment