Soldier poets, songs of the fighting men/John Lodge
Lieut., 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment (B.E.F.)
God and the Child
THE blessing of all blessings did attend
The marriage of my friend,
And gave him, to his comfort and his joy,
A baby boy;
To whom, as day by day
The growing mind took strength and spread its wings
In search of many things,
The father would display
Nothing that was not true and pure and fair,
Being born of ugliness and pain,
Turns to its own again.
So for the child was every season bright
And made for his delight;
No fear he knew of anger and the rod,
But, led by love and gentleness and care,
Found gifts of goodness everywhere
And babbled of the giver, even God.
And so it came to pass
That, having lately come to his fifth year,
One evening he was playing on the grass,
Bestriding his toy engine, not less dear
For being old and quaint,
Batter'd and wooden and devoid of paint;
And by it stood a Chinaman of tin,
His wagging head now still,
Perchance because the trumpet at his side
Awhile had ceas'd to fill
His ears with din;
And happy in his playthings was the child.
But suddenly his brown eyes open'd wide
And he no longer smil'd
But in a pensive posture held his head,
As tho' the fastness of his young content
Had been assail'd by doubt and wonderment
And threaten'd were his joys:
Until at last he slowly spake and said—
"Daddy, has God got any toys?"
On Zeppelin Picquet:
CHRISTMAS EVE and we stared at the sky
Where the clouds and the stars went galloping by,
And strict was the watch we kept for the flight
Of the death-dealing terror that flieth by night.
Christmas Eve—and we watch'd till the morn
Should rise and repeat how a Babe was born;
And our hearts within us were sad as we scann'd
The stars that spake not of Peace for our land.
Christmas Eve—and oh, to espy,
Like Bethlehem's shepherds, the hosts of the sky,
Their voices blent in rapturous mirth—
"Glory to God and Peace upon Earth!"
Christmas Eve—but set was the star
That guided the kings from regions afar—
Oh, soon may it rise and lead us again
Where One doth in peace and equity reign.
To Our Child Unborn
NO offspring art thou of a dreamer's rhyme;
But when my thought and hers, immaculate,
Conceiv'd thee thou didst leap, full-grown, elate,
Over the high-embattled walls of Time,
To watch our ways from some invisible clime,
Where, holding yet celestial estate,
In quietude thou dost the call await
To disarray thee of thy gear sublime.
Then hither shalt them wing thy lonely flight
And put upon thee robes of mortal mesh
Laid up against the season of thy birth—
And oh, I pray that undefil'd and bright
The warp and woof may be of that fair flesh
Wherewith endued thou shalt appear on earth.