25 December 2017

Great War Christmas Verse from a Century Past

Lens, France
25 December 1917
A poem by Arthur Stringer from the December 1917 issue of Maclean's.

Christmas Bells in War Time 
                  From spire and tower, in silvery tune,
                       The chimes like birds take flight.
                  Where that golden boat, the moon,
                       Drifts slowly down the night.                     
                  Aloud, alert, alone they cease
                       And wake these midnight bells,
                  Proclaiming, through their calmer, Peace
                       Where Peace no longer dwells.                    
                  Yet chime by chime, like homing birds,
                       They float, soar up, recede,
                  A gust of old-time gladdening words
                       That back to Sorrow lead.                    
                  For as we listen, bell by bell,
                       They bring about us here
                  Our hotly dead who sleep so well
                       We dare not dream them near.                    
                  So be still blithe, O Bells, and gay.
                       Since through the old glad sound
                  Our dead come home this Christmas Day
                       From grave strewn Flanders' ground!

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