THE LAST POST
THE bugler sent a call of high romance—
Lights out! Lights out!—to the deserted square:
On the thin brazen notes he threw a prayer.
God, if it's this for me next time in France
Spare me the phantom bugle as I lie
Dead in the gas and smoke and roar of guns,
Dead in a row with the other shattered ones,
Lying so stiff and still under the sky—
Jolly young Fusiliers, too good to die.
The music ceased, and the red sunset flare
Was blood about his head as he stood there.
ON A TROOPSHIP, 1915
FAREWELL! the village leaning to the hill,
And all the cawing rooks that homeward fly;
The bees; the drowsy anthem of the mill;
And winding pollards, where the plover cry.
We watch the breakers crashing on the bow
And those far flashes in the Eastern haze;
The fields and friends, that were, are fainter now
Than whispering of ancient water-ways.
Now England stirs, as stirs a dreamer wound
In immemorial slumber: lids apart,
Soon will she rouse her giant limbs attuned
To that old music hidden at her heart.
Farewell! the little men! Their menial cries
Are distant as the sparrows' chatterings;
She rises in her circuit of the skies,
An eagle with the dawn upon her wings.
We come to harbour in the breath of wars;
Welcome again the land of our farewells!
In this strange ruin open to the stars
We find the haven, where her spirit dwells:
Where the near guns boom; and the stricken towns are rolled
Skyward athunder with their trail of gold.