Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rougue Bouquet

 In a wood they call the Rouge Bouquet
 There is a new-made grave today,
Built by never a spade nor pick
 Yet covered with earth ten metres thick.
 There lie many fighting" men,
Dead in their youthful prime,
Never to laugh nor love again
 Nor taste the Summertime.
 For Death came flying through the air
 And stopped his flight at the dugout stair,
 Touched his prey and left them there,
Clay to clay.

He hid their bodies stealthily
In the soil of the land they fought to free
 And fled away.

 Now over the grave abrupt and clear
 Three volleys ring;
 And perhaps their brave young spirits hear
The bugle sing: "Go to sleep! Go to sleep!
 Slumber well where the shell screamed and fell.
 Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor,
You will not need them any more.
Danger's past;
Now at last,
Go to sleep!"

 There is on earth no worthier grave
 To hold the bodies of the brave
Than this place of pain and pride
Where they nobly fought and nobly died.
 Never fear but in the skies
Saints and angels stand
 Smiling with their holy eyes
 On this new-come band.
St. Michael's sword darts through the air
 And touches the aureole on his hair
As he sees them standing at salute there,
His stalwart sons:
And Patrick, Brigid, Columkill,
Rejoice that in veins of warriors still
 The Gael's blood runs.
 And up to Heaven's doorway floats,
 From the wood called Rouge Bouquet,
 A delicate cloud of bugle notes
 That softly say:
"Farewell! Farewell.
Comrades true, born anew., peace to you!
 Your souls shall be where the heroes are
And your memory shine like the morning-star.
 Brave 'and dear,
 Shield us here.

March 7, 1918
Joyce Kilmer

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