In Memoriam: John McCrae
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THERE was a singer who made song
Of the green grapes of Proserpine
Born in full flower of the marvellous sea,
Was not more fair,
Sung of his voice.
The hopeless acquiescence of all time
Once and for all was chanted in his rhyme.
Stripped equally of exultation and of dread
Grew even more pale :
White were the poppies which he sang.
What marvel youth, with sorrow out of mind,
The perfect litany of all grief should find
So sorrowful and yet so heavily sweet ;
And perfect rest,
Twining with him the poppies in her hair,
For all youth's pains.
He whom we mourn this day, he too did make
A song of poppies, but he cried not Sleep, hut
Red, red with blood his poppies were,
Not pale and wan
Lift up thy head !
Lift up thy head, who mournest him with me,
And what a wonder he hath wrought now see !
In one brief hour
The centuries' symbol of all sleep and de?.th
Now and for ever with immortal breath
No longer bound where breasts and white
"Between the crosses row on row."
Sleep? O poppies red,
Made by his song more holy than the rose,
We shall not sleep !
For, lo !
His word upon our inmost heart
Is graven more deeply than by all the art
Throughout all time
Lord of all rhyme,
As from the glories of a colonnade
Man turns, of old, to shrines in cloistral shade.
And youth shall kneel there
By this present shrine,
Learning a more divine
While though his body shall in France find
Yea, the same rest France to her own brave
His soul shall stray,
By an infallible way,
Not through Elysian, but to Flanders' fields.