The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

The Women.

BECAUSE we stand unharmed within the gate,

And hear the roar of battle surging by;

Because it is our lot to watch and wait,

And waiting send our dearest out to die,

Is it a little thing we do, who give

Our kith and kin, our brothers, husbands, sons,

And must ourselves untouched, unwounded, live,

Whilst they are broken by the reeking guns?

It is our courage that enkindles theirs,

Our strength that holds them steady, front andflank,

And where the oriflamme of battle flares

Our souls, in them, go marching rank on rank.

Because we give our dearest to be food

For lyddite, shrapnel, mitrailleuse and shell,

Ungrudging send our very flesh and blood

To brim the over-brimming deeps of hell,

Amid the rattle of artillery,

The clang of steel where sword on sabre jars,

Not they who die, not they alone, but we,

Uphold the Flag against the constant stars.

(The Bookman.)