Eight Harvard Poets/To War

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TO WAR


THE music beats, up the chasmed street,
Then flares from around the curve;
The cheers break out from the waving crowd:
—Our soldiers march, superb!
        Over the track-lined city street
     The young men, the grinning men, pass.

Last night they danced to that very tune;
Today they march away;
Tomorrow, perhaps no band at all,
Or the band beside the grave.
        Above, in the long blue strip of sky,
     The whirling pigeons, the thoughtless pigeons, pass.

Another band beats down the street;
Contending rhythms clash;
New melodies win place, then fade,
And the flashing legs move past.
        Down the cheering, grey-paved street
     The fringed flags, the erect flags, pass.