Page:Some soldier poets.djvu/53

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R. E. VERNÈDE

a flood, everything was merged in a shining mirror of the uplifted sky. Still it is reassuring to notice by the dates of his poems that his landmarks were reappearing and that Germany and England are no longer just black and white. By December, 1916, he strikes truer, less complacent notes:


"We have failed—we have been more weak than these

betrayers—
In strength or in faith we have failed; our pride was vain.

How can we rest who have not slain the slayers?

What peace for us, who have seen Thy children slain?


Hark, the roar grows...the thunders reawaken—

We ask one thing, Lord, only one thing now:

Hearts high as theirs, who went to death unshaken,

Courage like theirs to make and keep their vow.


To stay not till these hosts whom mercies harden,

Who know no glory save of sword and fire,

Find in our fire the splendour of Thy pardon,

Meet from our steel the mercy they desire....


Then to our children there shall be no handing

Of fates so vain—of passions so abhorr'd...

But Peace...the Peace which passeth understanding...

Not in our time...but in their time, O Lord."


And later still we have:


A LISTENING POST

The sun's a red ball in the oak

And all the grass is grey with dew.

Awhile ago a blackbird spoke—

He didn't know the world's askew.

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