Ah, boon companion of my vanished boy,
For you he lives; in every sylvan walk
He waits; and you expect him everywhere.
How would you stir, what cries, what bounds of joy,
If but his voice were heard in casual talk,
If but his footstep sounded on the stair!
FOR FRANCIS LEDWIDGE
(Killed in action, July 31, 1917.)
YOU fell; and on a distant field, shell shatter'd,
Soaked with blood; while, in your dying, Erin
Knew naught of you, nor folded you for rest.
You will not sleep beneath a mound where kings
Were coffin'd long ago in carven stone
And dream in peace amid an emerald land
Of many memories and swift-wing'd song.
And yet I think that you are not forgotten;
For even in the Irish air there will be
Somewhat of you; in the wide beam of sunlight
Streaming athwart the mountains to the fields
Furrowed and brown, where languid rooks, and gulls
With their sharp crying, circle, or sit and sun
Themselves. The song of birds shall speak of you;
The blackbird chirping cheerily of spring,
When hawthorn blows and gorse runs through the hedge;
The lark lost in the morning; and the stream
Sparkling, or dark with pools, where salmon leap.
You will not be forgotten; for your songs
Have brought the beauty of the Irish land
To many dimming eyes and homesick hearts.
Poet and Soldier, could your land forget?
For you each morning shall her fields be wet.