Page:A treasury of war poetry, British and American poems of the world war, 1914-1919.djvu/77

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77
BELGIUM


O tried and proved, whose record stands
 Lettered in blood too deep to fade,
Take courage! Never in our hands
 Shall the avenging sword be stayed
Till you are healed of all your pain,
And come with Honour to your own again.

May 19, 1915.


THE WIFE OF FLANDERS

LOW and brown barns, thatched and repatched and tattered,
 Where I had seven sons until to-day,
A little hill of hay your spur has scattered. . . .
 This is not Paris. You have lost the way.


You, staring at your sword to find it brittle,
 Surprised at the surprise that was your plan,
Who, shaking and breaking barriers not a little,
 Find never more the death-door of Sedan—


Must I for more than carnage call you claimant,
 Paying you a penny for each son you slay?
Man, the whole globe in gold were no repayment
 For what you have lost. And how shall I repay?


What is the price of that red spark that caught me
 From a kind farm that never had a name?
What is the price of that dead man they brought me?
 For other dead men do not look the same.


How should I pay for one poor graven steeple
 Whereon you shattered what you shall not know?
How should I pay you, miserable people?
 How should I pay you everything you owe?


Unhappy, can I give you back your honour?
 Though I forgave, would any man forget?
While all the great green land has trampled on her
 The treason and terror of the night we met.