Sunday 26 March 2017

The Dying Soldier's Thoughts

Out on the battlefield, thickly strewn with dead!
Ere the twilight fades to night, a soldier sinks to rest;
Hush! he speaks, tho’ low and strained, a comrade hears his words
And knows that ere the shadows close, his thoughts have home-ward flown.

Thoughts so sweet of all at home, all I leave behind!
Mother, sweetheart, sister, friends, gather round me now.
War, its ghastly sights and sounds seem far away in the past;
Peace, perfect peace, reigns in my heart, with loved ones all around.

On memories wings I mount and soar ’mid old familiar scenes!
Around the dear old homestead, beloved and lovely spot;
Mother, mother, for touch of your hand on my burning blood-stained brow,
Lay it there as you used to do when your boy complained of pain.

Again I wander, with fishing rod, ’long the path to the river bank!
Where many a beautiful shining trout, I landed with skill and pride;
How oft’ my sweetheart joined me there, and we strolled along the bank,
When the twilight came and the fishes ceased to rise to my brightest bait.

Agnes! my own, my dearest, for your sake I fain would live!
But it cannot be, my call has come, my life-blood ebbs away;
Years we have loved, since youthful friends, we roved the hills together,
How memory brings on the cold night's breeze the sound of your whispered, yes,

Again I feel in that last good-bye, your tears upon my face!
Oh! for a last farewell, my own, farewell for eternity;
Yet that’s not so, for we meet again, when the shadows flee away,
And you join me in God’s own home-land, farewell till then, farewell.

Annie Breakey. 
Drumskelt House, Ballybay.

Poem: The Witness, 16th March 1917.

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