Soldier poets, songs of the fighting men/Dyneley Hussey
Lieut. 13th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers
O LITTLE flower,
That yet dost not disclose
The secrets which thy closed bud scarce knows,
I blow upon thy petals that thine hour
Be hastened, the awakening to thy power.
Short is the time,
O flower, and full of storms;
The summer sky is dark with warlike forms
Of battling rains, and thunder-clouds that climb
Laden with danger up the blue sublime.
The night-born dew
Shall, on thy lip, be wine;
The worship of the wide stars shall be thine;
And the vast, mottled Heaven to thy view
Shall spread its cloak of cloud and changeless blue;
And thou shalt hear
Of birds sweet poetry,
And deep-droned wisdom from the noonday bee;
And gaudy butterflies shall flutter near
To whisper gallant secrets in thine ear.
Throw out thy white arms wide
To clasp unto thyself in joyous pride
The sun's warm husbandry, and gladly take
Thy full of life, before the dark storms break.
"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills."
THE smooth and rounded rhythm of the hills;
The rugged rhyme of mountains; the strong flow
Of the epic river, sweeping where it wills;
The brook's light lyric straying to and fro;
All the clean scents of flower and farm and earth
Wet with the downpour of straight summer rain;
Day's flaming death, cool Dawn's more tender birth,
And Noon's unchanging blue; and in the lane
Tall foxgloves, roses, and the singing birds;
The whispered music of the riverside;
The pleasant milky smell of evening herds;
And, over all, the jade hills windy, wide:
These will I seek, that they may shed on me
The peacefulness of their security.
ALONE amid the battle-din untouched
Stands out one figure beautiful, serene;
No grime of smoke nor reeking blood hath smutched
The virgin brow of this unconquered queen.
She is the Joy of Courage vanquishing
The unstilled tremors of the fearful heart;
And it is she that bids the poet sing,
And gives to each the strength to bear his part.
Her eye shall not be dimmed, but as a flame
Shall light the distant ages with its fire,
That men may know the glory of her name,
That purified our souls of fear's desire.
And she doth calm our sorrow, soothe our pain,
And she shall lead us back to peace again.
AS, when the viols of autumn deeply sob,
And from the trees are reft the withered leaves
Ensanguined with the life-blood of the year,
That they with outstretched, barren arms bewail,
The gardener brushes up the leaves;
So, when from England's tree of life are reft
Dust-hued and bloody your autumnal lives
That shrivel blasted by the breath of War,
And the bereavéd tree sad music weaves,
The Gardener gathers up your lives.
Those dead leaves waken in the weary earth,
Making the barren warm and rich with life,
And give to nobler flowers a glorious birth;
And your dead lives are dead alone in name,
For you shall live anew after the strife,
And light in future hearts a sacred flame.
JOY has been ours a little, Joy divine;
Joy filling all things, mastering our hearts;
Joy as intoxication of red wine;
Joy leaping o'er the breach when Love departs.
Ah! we were wild with this glad ecstasy,
And danced, and danced delirious in dreams,
Through the dim-gleaming Gate of Ivory,
Out of the World that Is to that which Seems.
And we did laugh in this great Joy of ours,
And all the world re-echoed to our cry.
And Time was nothing; days were short-lived hours,
And we Immortal as the days went by.
For Joy, O Love, had made my heart a feather:
O I am glad we've known this Joy together!
A POET once in dreaming fashioned
A woman to his fancy: Thus, he said,
Shall I find freedom from the tyranny
Of earth and dreary actuality.
The golden beams that radiate the skies
Between the clouds he caught, and spun her hair;
Of marble whiteness made her forehead wise,
And wrought her brows soft as the summer air;
For eyes he took two violets dim with dew
That veiled their glory; from a new-blown rose
Two velvet petals for her cheeks, and two
Red corals sought in distant seas he chose
To be the lips he longed for, and between
He set the wood-grown windflower's pearly tears;
Then from a shell he cut the inner sheen
And polished it and shaped it for her ears
To listen to the sea-throb of his sighs;
And in her glance he deftly wove fine strands
Of filmy starshine robbed from summer skies;
A lily's pointed petals were her hands
Tipped each with moonstones; last he made her heart,
Of snowflakes fashioned and forget-me-not,
And steeped it in red wine to bear its part:
Thus wrought his fancy—but he found her not.