More songs by the fighting men. Soldiers poets: second series/J. E. Stewart, M.C.

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More songs by the fighting men. Soldiers poets: second series (1917)
J. E. Stewart, M.C., Captain, Border Regiment
1906751More songs by the fighting men. Soldiers poets: second series — J. E. Stewart, M.C., Captain, Border Regiment1917


M.C., Capt., Border Regiment

Before Action

OVER the down the road goes winding,
A ribbon of white in the corn—
The green, young corn. O, the joy of binding
The sheaves some harvest morn!

But we are called to another reaping,
A harvest that will not wait.
The sheaves will be green. O, the world of weeping
Of those without the gate!

For the road we go they may not travel,
Nor share our harvesting;
But watch and weep. O, to unravel
The riddle of this thing!

Yet over the down the white road leading
Calls; and who lags behind?
Stout are our hearts; but O, the bleeding
Of hearts we may not bind!

Somme, July, 1916.


THERE is a stirring in the woods
Has not been heard these many Springs,
A pulsing eagerness as broods
The dawn about awaking things.
And signs are on the little hills
That take the sun while yet on high
The mighty peaks, whose grandeur fills
The noon, are muffled in the sky.

There is a murmur 'neath the noise
Of cities and the common crowd,
As though some elfin under-voice
Sang thro' the buzz and discord loud;
And songs above the red alarms
Of bitter War rise clear and free,
As in the cruel shock of arms
Trembled a sweet expectancy.

Once, in the days of barren Art,
When ebbed the tide of Beauty's pow'r,
Nature bestirred a poet's heart
To give the world a passioned hour;
And such an hour is trembling sure
O'er this our weary day and long,
To bring our sicken'd souls a cure
With a new ministry of Song.

Flanders, 1917.


I WAS afraid of Fear,
Not of the foe;
And when I thought that those I hold most dear
My craven soul would know
And turn away ashamed, who praised before,
Ashamed and deep distressed to find it so,
I was afraid the more.

Lo, when I joined the fight,
And bared my breast
To all the darts of that wild hellish night,
I, only, stood the test,
For Fear, which I had feared, deserted then,
And forward blithely at the foe I prest
King of myself again.


Blessed be God above
For His sweet care,
Who heard the prayers of those whom most I love
And my poor suppliance there,
Who brought me forth in life and limb all whole,
Who blessed my powers with his Divine repair,
And gave me back my soul!