Open main menu

OFF DUTY

The night is full of magic, and the moonlit dewdrops glisten
Where the blossoms close in slumber and the questing bullets pass—
Where the bullets hit the level I can hear them as I listen,
Like a little cricket concert, chirping chorus in the grass.


In the dug-out by the traverse there's a candle-flame a-winking
And the fireflies on the sandbags have their torches all aflame.
As I watch them in the moonlight, sure, I cannot keep from thinking,
That the world I knew and this one carry on the very same.


Look! A gun flash to the eastward! "Cover, matey! Under cover!
Don't you know the flash of danger? You should know that signal well;
You can hear it as it's coming. There it passes; swooping over.
There's a threat of desolation in the passing of a shell."


Little spears of grass are waving, decked with jewels iridescent—
Hark! A man on watch is stricken—I can hear his dying moan—
Lies a road across the starland near the wan and waning crescent,
Where a sentinel off-duty goes to reach his Maker's Throne.