A Highland Regiment/In Memoriam—R. M. Stalker

For works with similar titles, see In Memoriam.

AS I go down the highway,
And through the village street,
I hear the pipers playing
  And the tramp of marching feet.
The men I worked and fought with
  Swing by me four on four.
And at the end you follow
  Whom I shall see no more.

Oh, Stalk, where are you lying ?
  Somewhere and far away,
Enemy hands have buried
  Your quiet contemptuous clay.
There was no greeting given,
  No tear of friend for friend,
From us when you flew over
  Exultant to the end.

I couldn't see the paper,
  I couldn't think that you
Would never walk the highway
  The way you used to do.
I turn at every footfall,
  Half-hoping, half -afraid
To see you coming, later
  Than usual for parade.

The old Lairg clique is broken,
  I drove there yesterday.
And the car was full of ghosts that sat
  Beside me all the way.
Ghosts of old songs and laughter,
  Ghosts of the jolly three,
That went the road together
  And go no more with me.

Oh, Stalk, but I am lonely.
  For the old days we knew.
And the bed on the floor at Lesdos
  We slept in, I and you.
The joyful nights in billets
  We laughed and drank and swore —
But the candle's burned out now, Stalk,
  In the mess at Henancourt.

The candle's burned out now, old man.
  And the dawn's come grey and cold.
And I sit by the fire here
  Alone and sad and old.
Though all the rest come back again.
  You lie in a foreign land,
And the strongest link of all the chain
  Is broken in my hand.