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Patriotic pieces from the Great War/The Wounded Soldier in the Convent

THE WOUNDED SOLDIER IN THE CONVENT

What is that clanging noise I hear
Through the still convent ringing?
It is the carriage-ambulance
A wounded soldier bringing.


Upon his coat the blood-spots shine;
He limps—a shell has caught him—
His gun he uses for a crutch,
Descending, to support him.


A veteran he, with fierce moustache—
The triple stripes he's wearing—
All prudes and hypocrites he loathes,
And starts by loudly swearing.


Well-nigh insulting are his looks,
With ill-bred gibes he rallies
The novices—beneath their caps
They blush at his coarse sallies.


If at his side, thinking he sleeps,
The sister breathes a prayer,
Straightway astir he fills his pipe
And whistles a bored air.


What use to him their faithful watch,
The care that never ceases?
He knows his leg is lost and done,
And he'll be hacked to pieces.


He's very angry—Let him be!
Here no one knows impatience,
There reigns an atmosphere that soothes
And cows the rudest patients.


Slow is the spell, but sure, that wields
This band, to service given,
With fingers soft they touch the wounds,
And softly speak of Heaven.


So subtle is their pious charm,
Our grumbler soon will see it
In his own way—and to each prayer
Make the response, "So be it!"