Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Peace! Be still!

 “Master, the battle is raging!
  The shrapnel is falling nigh!
The air is polluted with gas fumes,
  And round me dead comrades lie.
Carest Thou not that we perish?
  How canst Thou silence keep
When each moment so madly is threatening
  A grave in a shell hole deep?”

 “Proud man and his hosts shall obey My will!
  Peace! be still! Whether the rush of torpedo at sea,
Or demons on land, or whatever they be, might against
  Right shall not long defy the Master of ocean and
Earth and sky. They all shall surely obey My will;
  Peace! be still! Peace! be still!
     They all shall sorely obey My will;
     Peace! peace! be still

Master, the struggle is over.
   The elements sweetly rest;
Man’s pride to the dust is humbled,
   And hope’s high within my breast,
leave us no more, blest Redeemer,
   To man’s own unhallowed caprice;
And in humbled contrition we’ll ever
   Seek brotherhood, love, and peace.

J. M.

Adapted from Sankey’s "Peace, be Still.”

Poem: The Witness, 29 November 1918. 
Image: Crop from Zonnebeke 1918 a painting by Sir William Orpen

Wednesday, 14 November 2018


The leaves of autumn rustle ’neath my feet,
    And trees, that in the spring, have looked so fair,
And shelter gave through storm or summer heat,
  Now stretch their arms to heaven, all bleak and bare.
The winds that whistle o'er the lea proclaim
  The approach of darker days that follow fast;
No more is heard the thrush’s glad refrain,
  The joys of spring and summer days are past.
The Honeysuckle’s delicate perfume
  In evening walks shall gladden us no more;
The flowers are dead that decked the fields with bloom,
  Their little life of bright and beauty’s o’er.
And in our hearts a warning note we hear—
  “The sweets of life, how quickly all are past;
Our pleasant dreams, how soon they disappear;
  No joy on earth is ever given to last.”
And yet, why need we sadly mourn lost joy.
  Or pleasures fair that held our lives enthralled;
The sweets of life, are mixed with life’s alloy.
  Its brightest day some shadows doth enfold.
But ’tis not death that autumn winds foretell,
  But tired nature, gently lulled to sleep
By unseen hands, that ruleth all things well,
  And in His keeping rest, secure and, deep.
To wake again, with fresher beauty given,
  Renewed in strength, and all that now seem lost.
Healed from the wounds, which storm-clouds oft have riven.
  Anew shall bloom those buds onoe nipped by frost.
So we shall wake some happy morn to find
  Our winter days, and all their clouds have passed;
The storms that rent our hearts lie far behind.
  Secure we’ll rest in that fair haven at last.
No autumn days will sadden that fair spring—
  The “eternal spring” for which our lives were planned;
What tho’ these fleeting years, their sorrows bring,
  New joys await us in that “Better Land."

IVY. Londonderry.

Poem: The Witness, 15 November 1918

Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Road to Victory

Thorny and broken, crimson paven,
  Chill with the winds that blow from night;
With many footsteps deeply graven,
  Hidden in shade and bathed in light.

Winding afar thro’ dale and valley.
  Twining on high, up hill and steep;
Trodden by hosts that may not dally,
  Followed by eyes that never sleep.

Beaten of old by travellers lonely,
  Bordered with hopes and joys and fears;
Followed by hosts, yet each one only.
  Beating his way thro' blood and tears.

This is the way that we must follow.
  Grief scarred and dark, incarnadined;
And at the end the bauble hollow.
  Or the Great Crown, which may we find.


Poem: The Witness, 22nd November 1918.
Image: Men of the 8th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment going up to the line near Frezenberg during the Third Battle of Ypres 1917. IWM Q 2978.