by Nick Cowley and Dot Hodgskiss
Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour,
And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping,
With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power,
To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary,
Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move,
And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
And all the little emptiness of love!
God heard the embattled nations sing and shout
"Gott strafe England" and "God save the King!"
God this, God that, and God the other thing
"Good God!" said God, "I've got my work cut out!"
If I should die, think only this of me;
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
As ek nou in die buiteland moet sterf,
Dan word my graf 'n stukkie Transvaal-erf,
Want die grond van daardie verre, vreemde plek
Sal ewig lank 'n Boereseun bedek.
'Good-morning; good-morning!' the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
'He's a cheery old card,' grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
But he did for them both by his plan of attack.
Do you remember that hour of din before the attack--
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads -- those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?
Have you forgotten yet? ...
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you'll never forget.
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory:
The old Lie: Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
And the laughing Breeze made answer: "In the old way;
You should see the little cruisers spread and fly,
Peering over the horizon, in the old way,
And a seaplane up and wheeling in the sky.
When the wireless snapped 'The enemy is sighted,'
If his accents were comparatively new,
Why, the sailor-men were cheering, in the old way,
So naturally I smiled, and thought of you."
Dawn off the Foreland - the young flood making
Jumbled and short and steep
Black in the hollows and bright where it's breaking
Awkward water to sweep.
"Mines reported in the fairway,
Warn all traffic and detain.
Sent up Unity, Claribel, Assyrian, Stormcock, and Golden Gain."
Noon off the Foreland the first ebb making
Lumpy and strong in the bight.
Boom after boom, and the golf-hut shaking
And the jackdaws wild with fright.
"Mines located in the fairway,
Boats now working up the chain,
Sweepers Unity, Claribel, Assyrian, Stormcock, and Golden Gain."
Dusk off the Foreland the last light going
And the traffic crowding through,
And five damned trawlers with their syreens blowing
Heading the whole review!
"Sweep completed in the fairway.
No more mines remain.
Sent back Unity, Claribel, Assyrian, Stormcock, and Golden Gain."
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
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