National Geographic Magazine/Volume 31/Number 5/The Red Cross Spirit Speaks

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The Red Cross Spirit Speaks[edit]

By John H. Finley


I kneel behind the soldier's trench,
I walk 'mid shambles' smear and stench,
   The dead I mourn;
I bear the stretcher and I bend
O'er Fritz and Pierre and Jack to mend
   What shells have torn.

I go wherever men may dare,
I go wherever woman's care
   And love can live;
Wherever strength and skill can bring
Surcease to human suffering,
   Or solace give.

I am your pennies and your pounds;
I am your bodies on their rounds
   Of pain afar;
I am you, doing what you would
If you were only where you could—
   Your avatar.

The cross which on my arm I wear,
The flag which o'er my breast I bear,
   Is but the sign
Of what you'd sacrifice for him
Who suffers on the hellish rim
   Of war's red line.

Source: John H. Finley (May 1917), “The Red Cross Spirit Speaks”, The National Geographic Magazine 31(5): 474.