Marching Men: War Verses/In France's Flowered Fields
IN FRANCE'S FLOWERED FIELDS.
IN France's flowered fields they lie,
And she will hold them close and dear,
Above their graves her trees will sigh,
Her grasses cover them year by year.
On Summer noons the sun will stream
In cheerful warmth across their beds,
By night the moon's slant, filmy beam
Build aureoles about their heads.
The fitful winds will make them moan
In soft and plaintive melodies,
And they shall lie apart, alone,
Through all the coming centuries;
Dwelling in silences so vast
No thought to that high tower may climb;
An austere beauty holds them fast
Beyond the boundaries of time.
They were to us mere laughing boys,
But in the passing of a breath
They turned from life's scarce-tasted joys
To this high majesty of death. . .
O France, when coming springs shall break
In foam of bloom to hide thy scars,
And flowers of human kindness make
An end of agonies and wars;
Forget not these our sons who came
At that first wild, bewildered cry
With their young British hearts aflame
Upon thy tragic hills to die.
Still have them in thy guarding care,
A holy and a cherished trust;
And let thy children come with prayer
To dream awhile beside their dust;—
To dream of tender love and ruth,
And give a passing thought to these
Who trod the star-lit ways of truth,
Bondsmen of British loyalties.
And since upon thy heart lies now
The richest ransom ever paid—
White roses torn from England's brow
Beside thy broken lilies laid—
Be thou our friend forever more,
In ties of common anguish bound,
That we may know the sons we bore
Lie not in unregarded ground.