Soldier poets, songs of the fighting men/S. Donald Cox


Rifleman, 2/5 C.L.R., London Rifle Brigade


To My Mother—1916

IF I should fall, grieve not that one so weak
And poor as I
Should die.
Nay! though thy heart should break
Think only this: that when at dusk they speak
Of sons and brothers of another one,
Then thou canst say—"I too had a son;
He died for England's sake!"


The Song of The Happy Warrior

THE song of the boy who was brave and fair,
He was young and his eyes were grey,
He was swift to run and strong to strive
And ready for any play.
He climbed to the top of the apple tree
When nobody else would dare;
He couldn't get down and he feared he'd fall
As the branch swayed in the air.

O! the ground seemed such a way below,
But he smiled a doubtful smile-a,
And he grit his teeth and sang "Cheer-o!"
Though the drop to the ground seemed a mile-a.

The song of the man in the khaki-coat
As he stands in the wet and snow,
A smoking rifle in his hands
And his feet in the mud below.
The tale of the charge and the man that fell,
Of the tunic dyed with red,
The tight-clenched teeth and the clammy brow
And the stain where the wound had bled.
O! he groaned as he jolted to and fro
And wan, wan was his smile-a,
But he grit his teeth and he hummed "Cheer-o!"
And he died at the end of a mile-a.