08 May 2016

A Poem for Mother's Day from the Great War

Century-old verse by Miss Elspeth Honeyman, whose brothers served in the 29th Battalion (Vancouver). From Canadian Poems of the Great War, chosen and edited by John W. Garvin (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1918).
          The night comes down and the wind is chill,
               (Are both my boys asleep?)
          Daylight tinges the distant hill,
               (Why is it I cannot sleep?) 
          A passing lad and a whistled tune,
               (France is so far away!)
          Roses bloom and the month is June,
               (The heat is the worst, they say.) 
          The list was long in the morning's news,
               (They are so young to die!)
          Which strong heart will the bullet choose —
               Where will his body lie? 
          Boys go clattering down the street,
               (Which will come back to me?)
          I hear the tramp of the soldiers' feet,
               (Dear God, that such things be!) 
          What will they buy with the blood of men?
               (Hearts break, but they do not die.)
         Victory, Honour, — and War again?
               (Dead faces turned to the sky?)

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