More songs by the fighting men. Soldiers poets: second series/Gerald M. Cooper

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2nd Lieut., Scots Guards



WEARY of strife and sickening at the thought
My soul desires release, and as I gaze
Upon the barrenness that war hath wrought,
Another vision rises in a haze
Of phantasy—I see a place of rest
All bathed in sunlight and the scent of flowers,
Where Time has fall'n asleep on Nature's breast,
And none may mark the tread of passing hours.
And in the fairest part of all, that seems
The very home of all things pure and good,
A woman sits with half-closed eyes, and dreams
In ecstasy of perfect motherhood.
O wondrous mystery! Behold, the earth
Blossoms again in mystic second birth.


A dark grey sky that merges in the west
Into pale primrose, where the fading day
Still lingers like an echo half-expressed
Of some forgotten glory. By the way,
Outlined in black against the sky, there stands
A wayside crucifix among the corn;
Waiting with tired eyes and outstretched hands,
In patient expectation of the morn.

The gentle whisper of the poplar trees
Is hardly loud enough to break the spell
Of mystic silence. From the church tower's height
Comes, wafted onward by the dying breeze,
The solemn tolling of a single bell;
Then silence and the mystery of night.