More songs by the fighting men. Soldiers poets: second series/Carroll Carstairs

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Lieut., Grenadier Guards


Death in France

IF I should die while I am yet in France
Before the battle clouds have rolled away,
Give me to feel that death will but enhance
Life's secret vision on its passing day.
Grant then to me new, individual power
In reverie, whilst whimsically I trace
Thro' eager, breathless youth, each pulsing hour,
The light and shadow on its fading face.
And in death's soonest minute let me seek
Life heightened by new splendour, poise, surprise,
New colour flushing deep its paling cheek,
New wonder looking from its tired eyes.
Time's brought a rare patine to old Romance—
Death has an ancient dignity in France.

France, November, 1916.


The Lover's Mood

I SAID a careless word, then miserably
Repented, asked forgiveness in sweet rhyme;
Your face had clouded so, and suddenly
The day had grown a-weary ere her time.


Life and Death

IF death should come with his cold, hasty kiss
Along the trench or in the battle strife,
I'll ask of death no greater boon than this:
That it shall be as wonderful as life.