Rhymes of a Red Cross Man

by
Robert W. Service

The Mourners


I look into the aching womb of night;
I look across the mist that masks the dead;
The moon is tired and gives but little light,
 The stars have gone to bed.

The earth is sick and seems to breathe with pain;
A lost wind whimpers in a mangled tree;
I do not see the foul, corpse-cluttered plain,
 The dead I do not see.

The slain I WOULD not see . . . and so I lift
My eyes from out the shambles where they lie;
When lo! a million woman-faces drift
 Like pale leaves through the sky.

The cheeks of some are channelled deep with tears;
But some are tearless, with wild eyes that stare
Into the shadow of the coming years
 Of fathomless despair.

And some are young, and some are very old;
And some are rich, some poor beyond belief;
Yet all are strangely like, set in the mould
 Of everlasting grief.

They fill the vast of Heaven, face on face;
And then I see one weeping with the rest,
Whose eyes beseech me for a moment's space. . . .
 Oh eyes I love the best!

Nay, I but dream. The sky is all forlorn,
And there's the plain of battle writhing red:
God pity them, the women-folk who mourn!
 How happy are the dead!



Return to Rhymes of a Red Cross Man - Index

To More Northern Literature Links