More songs by the fighting men. Soldiers poets: second series/Eric Fitzwalter Wilkinson, M.C.
M.C., Capt., West Yorkshires, B.E.F., France
(Killed in Action, October 9, 1917)
To a Choir of Birds
GREEN are the trees, and green the summer grass,
Beneath the sun, the tinest leaf hangs still:
The flowers in languor droop, and tired men pass
All somnolent, while death whines loud and shrill.
O fine, full-throated choir invisible,
Whose sudden burst of rapture fills the ear!
Are ye insensible to mortal fear,
That such a stream of melody ye spill,
While murk of battle drifts on Auber's hill,
And mankind dreams of slaughter? What wild glee
Has filled your throbbing throats with sound, until
Its strains are poured from every bush and tree,
And sad hearts swell with hope, and fierce eyes fill?
The world is stark with blood and hate—but ye—
Sing on! Sing on! in careless ecstasy.