More songs by the fighting men. Soldiers poets: second series/P. H. B. Lyon

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P. H. B. LYON

Lieut., Durham Light Infantry

 

Requiem

LET others comfort your distress
With soldier tales of simple art,
Telling his strength, his manliness,
The noble way he played his part.
You should be proud;—ah, gallant heart,
Say not that pride is comfortless.


But I have rarer words than praise,
For more than common love was mine,
And now his dear remembered ways
Are treasured in the sacred shrine
Where human mingles with divine,
A solace for the lonely days.


He battled for no worldly hire,
No stern ambition to appease,
From fight to fight his heart's desire
Was set on higher things than these—
His home beside the English seas,
And children's faces round the fire,


Red clouds, and the low sun agleam
In cottage windows dim with age,
The summer sounds of wood and stream,
These were his faith, his heritage;
His life—a happy pilgrimage,
And death the dawning of a dream.


And on that day he went to die
His spirit soared on rainbow wings,
Gladly he went, with head held high,
And singing as a lover sings
To greet the dusky night, that brings
His hour of happiness more nigh.


Ah, surely when his life was sped
That spirit hastened to your side.
Would you but raise your weeping head
You'd hear him whisper in the tide,
Or on the winds of heaven ride
For ever with the mighty dead.

 

The Lay of the Bombardier

(Old style)

MY ways are lonely and apart,
My very name a thing of fear;
I am the man without a heart,
I am the Lord High Bombardier.


My mattins is the shrapnel's scream,
My evensong the bullet's crack;
The happy state of which I dream
To strafe and never be strafed back.


Oft-times with Red Hats hovering near
I hold a mystic high debate
On how to fill the Boche with fear,
On Frightfulness, or "What is Hate?"


How some bombs burst long ere they land,
Others, the choicest, as they fall;
How some dissect the thrower's hand,
While most will never burst at all.


With that spring-throated Juggernaut
That spits explosive at the sky.
No dark-browed scholar devil-taught
Could be more intimate than I.


For me no more the secret cult
Of "Jampot," "Hairbrush," "Pitcher," "Ball,"
Holds fear; the erratic catapult
Has lost all power to appal.


With many a brother anarchist
By night I prowl from ten till one,
Thirsting to keep a bloody tryst
With some rotund unready Hun.


So runs my life, but when the end
Comes on the wings of shot or shell,
No tears will save, nor loving friend,
For me there waits the bomber's Hell,


Where with the unsubstantial shades
In groves where shells eternal fall
I'll fill Satanic hand-grenades
With fourth-dimension ammonal.

Flanders, 1915.