Patriotic pieces from the Great War/The Old Road to Paradise
THE OLD ROAD TO PARADISE
Permission of the author and the publisher, Good Housekeeping, New York
Ours is a dark Eastertide, and a scarlet spring,
But high up at Heaven's gate all the saints sing,
Glad for the great companies returning to their King!
Oh, in youth the dawn's a rose, dusk an amethyst,
All the roads from dusk to dawn gay they wind and twist,
The old road to Paradise, easy it is missed!
But out on the wet battlefields few the roadways wind,
One to grief, one to death—no road that's kind—
The old road to Paradise, plain it is to find.
(St. Martin in his Colonel's cloak, St. Joan in her mail,
King David with his crown and sword—oh, none there be that fail—
Along the road to Paradise they stand to greet and hail!)
Where the dark's a terror-thing, morn a hope doubt-tossed,
Where the lads lie thinking long, out in rain and frost,
There they find their God again, long ago they lost.
Where the night comes cruelly, where the hurt men moan,
Where the crushed forgotten ones whisper prayers alone,
Christ along the battlefields comes to lead His own.
Souls that would have withered soon in the world's hot glare,
Blown and gone like shriveled things, dusty on the air,
Rank on rank they follow Him, young and strong and fair!
Ours is a sad Eastertide, and a woeful day,
Yet high up at Heaven's gate the saints are all gay,
For the old road to Paradise—'tis a crowded way!