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World War 1 Poems

Table of Contents

  1. G.A.R. to A.E.F. by Anonymous
  2. A Song of Heroes by Anonymous
  3. Nineteen-Seventeen by Susan Hooker Whitman
  4. I Have a Rendezvous With Death by Alan Seeger
  5. Suicide In The Trenches by Siegfried Sassoon
  6. In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
  7. Christ in Flanders by L.W.
  8. The Soldier by Rupert Brooke
  9. Not With Vain Tears by Rupert Brooke
  10. Does it Matter? by Siegfried Sassoon
  11. But a Short Time to Live by Leslie Coulson
  12. The Lost Ones by Francis Ledwidge
  13. A Hymn of Freedom by Marry Perry King
  14. For the Fallen by Robert Laurence Binyon
  15. Before Action by William Noel Hodgson
  16. The World War by Anonymous
  17. The Dream by Grace Hazard Conkling
  18. The Red Cross Nurses by Thomas L. Masson
  19. In Memoriam by Ewart Alan Mackintosh
  20. A Soldier's Cemetery by John William Streets
  21. November Eleventh by Elizabeth Hanly
  22. Homes, After the War by Amos Russel Wells
  23. Armistice by Sophie Jewett
  24. Victory Bells by Grace Hazard Conkling
  25. Independence Day—1919 by Margaret E. Sangster
  26. A Song for Heroes by E. F. Hayward

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

– Robert Laurence Binyon
For the Fallen

If you're looking for a World War I poem for kids, try Victory Bells by Grace Hazard Conkling. For a short World War I poem, you might like The Soldier by Rupert Brooke. A long World War I poem to check out is Robert Laurence Binyon's For the Fallen. And for a famous World War I poem, there are several good ones to choose from, but perhaps far and away the most famous and most popular of those listed below is John McCrae's In Flanders Fields (also a good short poem). Below is a more complete, categorized list of suggestions.

World War 1 Poems for Kids

  1. Victory Bells by Grace Hazard Conkling

Short World War 1 Poems

  1. In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
  2. The Red Cross Nurses by Thomas L. Masson
  3. A Song of Heroes by Anonymous
  4. The Lost Ones by Francis Ledwidge
  5. November Eleventh by Elizabeth Hanly
  6. Armistice by Sophie Jewett
  7. A Soldier's Cemetery by John William Streets
  8. The Soldier by Rupert Brooke
  9. Not With Vain Tears by Rupert Brooke

Long World War 1 Poems

  1. Christ in Flanders by L.W.
  2. For the Fallen by Robert Laurence Binyon
  3. In Memoriam by Ewart Alan Mackintosh

Famous World War 1 Poems

  1. In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
  2. I Have a Rendezvous With Death by Alan Seeger
  3. Suicide In The Trenches by Siegfried Sassoon
  4. The Soldier by Rupert Brooke
  5. But a Short Time to Live by Leslie Coulson

  1. G.A.R. to A.E.F.

    by Amos Russel Wells. Written when the United States sent her first troops to the World War.

    Hope and Promise of the nation,
    Expeditionary Force,
    For Democracy's salvation
    And Autocracy's remorse.
    Take a warning and a blessing
    From your fathers who have fought,
    So that both of them possessing,
    You may set the foe at naught.

    Take a warning: that the fighting
    Is not over in a day;
    Oh, the failures, weary, blighting!
    Oh, the desperate delay!
    For the waiting, and the biding,
    And the unexpected shock,
    You will need the calm abiding
    Of the everlasting rock.

    Take a blessing: gallant heroes
    From a nation that is free,
    You are facing worse than Nero's
    Cruelty and treachery;
    All of heaven bends above you,
    God preserve you safe and true.
    For the folks at home who love you.
    And the land that prays for you!

    We who know the olden story,
    Freedom's story proudly great,
    How we glory in your glory
    And the splendor of your fate!
    Take our high congratulation,
    Far against the foeman hurled--
    We who fought to save the nation,
    You who fight to save the world!

  2. A Song of Heroes

    by Anonymous

    Our country calls for heroes,
    And who is a hero now
    With no fear in his eyes,
    With no shade of disguise,
    With a purpose upon his brow?

    The wide world calls for heroes,
    And who will a hero be.
    With a love for the whole
    And a clear, steady soul
    And a spirit brave and free?

    High heaven calls for heroes,
    And who is a hero there,
    With a will for the best,
    And a mind for the test,
    And a heart that knows to dare?

    But never mind the heroes,
    Nor herald the hero's worth:
    For our land we will die
    And for God on high,
    And for all the groaning earth!

  3. Nineteen-Seventeen

    by Susan Hooker Whitman

    "It is long since knighthood was in flower,
    There are no men today who tower
    Above their kind—the knights are dust,
    Their names forgot, their good swords rust,"
    We idly say. And yet, in truth—
    The brave soul has eternal youth,
    Like the great lighthouse rising free,
    Whose far-flung beams guide ships at sea,
    God lifts above his fellow man
    A steadfast soul to dare and plan,
    A king of men, by right divine,
    Who in his forehead bears the sign—
    He walks along the city street;
    Unknowing, in the fields we meet
    A modern knight in whose hand lies
    A mighty Nation's destinies.

    Then say no more, the knights are gone;
    Honor and Truth and Right live on,
    And men today would keep the bridge
    Horatius kept—from rocky ridge
    Heroic Youth would still fling down
    His horse, himself, to save the town.
    Columbia calls!,
    Off with your hats and lift them high,
    Our own, our sons are passing by.

  4. I Have a Rendezvous With Death

    by Alan Seeger. Alan Seeger was studying in Paris when the war broke out. In the third week he enlisted in the Foreign Legion. Two arduous years later he was called on higher service. July 4, 1916, his squad was caught in an assault on the village of Belloy-en Santerre, where the Germans received them with the fire of six machine guns. Seeger was severely wounded, but went forward with the others, and helped take the place. Next morning he died. He had kept the tryst.

    Alan Seeger was a New York boy. He was born in that city June 22, 1888. In his short life he had written some twenty poems. This was his last. It was written in camp shortly before his call came.

    I have a rendezvous with Death
    At some disputed barricade
    When Spring comes back with rustling shade
    And apple blossoms fill the air.
    I have a rendezvous with Death
    When Spring brings back blue days and fair

    It may be he shall take my hand
    And lead me into his dark land
    And close my eyes and quench my breath;
    It may be I shall pass him, still,
    I have a rendezvous with Death
    On some scarred slope of battered hill,
    When Spring comes round again this year
    And the first meadow flowers appear.

    God knows 'twere better to be deep
    Pillowed in silk and scented down,
    Where love throbs out in blissful sleep
    Pulse nigh to pulse and breath to breath,
    Where hushed awakenings are dear.
    But I've a rendezvous with Death
    At midnight in some flaming town,
    When Spring trips north again this year,
    And I to my pledged word am true.
    I shall not fail that rendezvous.

  5. Suicide In The Trenches

    by Siegfried Sassoon

    I knew a simple soldier boy
    Who grinned at life in empty joy,
    Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
    And whistled early with the lark.

    In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
    With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
    He put a bullet through his brain.
    No one spoke of him again.

      *               *               *               *               *

    You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
    Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
    Sneak home and pray you'll never know
    The hell where youth and laughter go.

  6. In Flanders Fields

    Illustration for In Flanders Fields
    by Ernest Clegg
    by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae on May 3, 1915. Lieut. Col. John McCrae was a Canadian physician who served in the South African war as an artilleryman. He was on his way to Canada when the war began in 1914, and immediately upon landing he entered the Val Cartier training camp and was commissioned a Captain. Later he joined the McGill Hospital corps and went with it to France, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and died in service, January 28, 1918.
    His poem, In Flanders' Fields, was written on the Flanders front in the Spring of 1915. Its inspiration is thus explained by Sergeant Charles E Bisset, of the 19th Battalion, 1st Brigade, Canadian Infantry:
    "On the Flanders front in the early Spring of 1915, when the war had settled down to trench fighting, two of the most noticeable features of the field were, first, the luxuriant growth of red poppies appearing among the graves of the fallen soldiers, and second, that only one species of bird the larks remained on the field during the fighting. As soon as the cannonading ceased, they would rise in the air, singing."

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead.
    Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

  7. Christ in Flanders

    by L. W.

    We had forgotten You, or very nearly—
    You did not seem to touch us very nearly—
    Of course we thought about You now and then;
    Especially in any time of trouble—
    We knew that You were good in time of trouble—
    But we are very ordinary men.

    And there were always other things to think of—
    There's lots of things a man has got to think of—
    His work, his home, his pleasure, and his wife;
    And so we only thought of You on Sunday—
    Sometimes, perhaps, not even on a Sunday—
    Because there's always lots to fill one's life.

    And, all the while, in the street or lane or byway—
    In country lane, in city street, or byway—
    You walked among us, and we did not see.
    Your feet were bleeding as You walked our pavements—
    How did we miss Your Footprints on our pavements?—
    Can there be other folk as blind as we?

    Now we remember; over here in Flanders—
    (It isn't strange to think of You in Flanders)—
    This hideous warfare seems to make things clear.
    We never thought about You much in England—
    But now that we are far away from England—
    We have no doubts, we know that You are here.

    You helped us pass the jest along the trenches—
    Where, in cold blood, we waited in the trenches—
    You touched its ribaldry and made it fine.
    You stood beside us in our pain and weakness—
    We're glad to think You understand our weakness—
    Somehow it seems to help us not to whine.

    We think about You kneeling in the Garden—
    Ah! God! the agony of that dread Garden—
    We know You prayed for us upon the Cross.
    If anything could make us glad to bear it—
    'T would be the knowledge that You willed to bear it—
    Pain—death—the uttermost of human loss.

    Though we forgot You—You will not forget us—
    We feel so sure that You will not forget us—
    But stay with us until this dream is past.
    And so we ask for courage, strength, and pardon—
    Especially, I think, we ask for pardon—
    And that You'll stand beside us to the last.

  8. The Soldier

    by Rupert Brooke. Rupert Brooke, a brilliant, impassioned young Englishman, was one of the first to take arms when Great Britain went to war. He died in the Dardanelles expedition, April 23, 1915. A few days before, he had sent from the Aegean Sea to the English-speaking peoples the poem by which he is best known:

    If I should die, think only this of me:
    That there’s some corner of a foreign field
    That is for ever England. There shall be
    In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
    A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
    Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
    A body of England’s, breathing English air,
    Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

    And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
    A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
    Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
    Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
    And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
    In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

  9. Not With Vain Tears

    by Rupert Brooke

    Not with vain tears, when we're beyond the sun,
    We'll beat on the substantial doors, nor tread
    Those dusty high-roads of the aimless dead
    Plaintive for Earth; but rather turn and run
    Down some close-covered by-way of the air,
    Some low sweet alley between wind and wind,
    Stoop under faint gleams- thread the shadows, find
    Some whispering ghost-forgotten nook, and there

    Spend in pure converse our eternal day;
    Think each in each, immediately wise;
    Learn all we lacked before; hear, know, and say
    What this tumultuous body now denies;
    And feel, who have laid our groping hands away;
    And see, no longer blinded by our eyes.

  10. Does it Matter?

    by Siegfried Sassoon

    Does it matter?—losing your leg? . . .
    For people will always be kind,
    And you need not show that you mind
    When the others come in after hunting
    To gobble their muffins and eggs.

    Does it matter?—losing your sight? . . .
    There's such splendid work for the blind;
    And people will always be kind,
    As you sit on the terrace remembering
    And turning your face to the light.

    Do they matter?—those dreams from the pit? . . .
    You can drink and forget and be glad,
    And people won't say that you're mad;
    For they'll know that you've fought for your country,
    And no one will worry a bit.

  11. But a Short Time to Live

    by Leslie Coulson

    Our little hour,—how swift it flies
    When poppies flare and lilies smile;
    How soon the fleeting minute dies,
    Leaving us but a little while
    To dream our dream, to sing our song,
    To pick the fruit, to pluck the flower,
    The Gods—They do not give us long,—
    One little hour.

    Our little hour,—how short it is
    When Love with dew-eyed loveliness
    Raises her lips for ours to kiss
    And dies within our first caress.
    Youth flickers out like wind-blown flame,
    Sweets of to-day to-morrow sour,
    For Time and Death, relentless, claim
    Our little hour.

    Our little hour,—how short a time
    To wage our wars, to fan our hates,
    To take our fill of armoured crime,
    To troop our banners, storm the gates.
    Blood on the sword, our eyes blood-red,
    Blind in our puny reign of power,
    Do we forget how soon is sped
    Our little hour?

    Our little hour,—how soon it dies:
    How short a time to tell our beads,
    To chant our feeble Litanies,
    To think sweet thoughts, to do good deeds.
    The altar lights grow pale and dim,
    The bells hang silent in the tower—
    So passes with the dying hymn
    Our little hour.

  12. The Lost Ones

    by Francis Ledwidge

    Somewhere is music from the linnets' bills,
    And thro' the sunny flowers the bee-wings drone,
    And white bells of convolvulus on hills
    Of quiet May make silent ringing, blown
    Hither and thither by the wind of showers,
    And somewhere all the wandering birds have flown;
    And the brown breath of Autumn chills the flowers.
    But where are all the loves of long ago?

    O little twilight ship blown up the tide,
    Where are the faces laughing in the glow
    Of morning years, the lost ones scattered wide
    Give me your hand, O brother, let us go
    Crying about the dark for those who died.

  13. A Hymn of Freedom

    by Marry Perry King

    Unfurl the flag of Freedom,
    Fling far the bugle blast!
    There comes a sound of marching
    From out the mighty past.
    Let every peak and valley
    Take up the valiant cry:
    Where, beautiful as morning,
    Our banner cuts the sky.

    Free born to peace and justice,
    We stand to guard and save
    The liberty of manhood,
    The faith our fathers gave.
    Then soar aloft, Old Glory,
    And tell the waiting breeze
    No law but Right and Mercy
    Shall rule the Seven Seas.

    No hate is in our anger,
    No vengeance in our wrath,
    We hold the line of freedom
    Across the tyrant's path.
    Where'er oppression vaunteth
    We loose the sword once more
    To stay the feet of conquest,
    And pray an end of war.

  14. For the Fallen

    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them.

    – Robert Laurence Binyon
    For the Fallen
    by Robert Laurence Binyon

    With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
    England mourns for her dead across the sea.
    Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
    Fallen in the cause of the free.

    Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
    Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
    There is music in the midst of desolation
    And a glory that shines upon our tears.

    They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
    Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
    They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
    They fell with their faces to the foe.

    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them.

    They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
    They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
    They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
    They sleep beyond England's foam.

    But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
    Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
    To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
    As the stars are known to the Night;

    As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
    Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
    As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
    To the end, to the end, they remain.

  15. Before Action

    by William Noel Hodgson

    By all the glories of the day
    And the cool evening's benison
    By that last sunset touch that lay
    Upon the hills when day was done,
    By beauty lavishly outpoured
    And blessings carelessly received,
    By all the days that I have lived
    Make me a soldier, Lord.

    By all of all man's hopes and fears
    And all the wonders poets sing,
    The laughter of unclouded years,
    And every sad and lovely thing;
    By the romantic ages stored
    With high endeavour that was his,
    By all his mad catastrophes
    Make me a man, O Lord.

    I, that on my familiar hill
    Saw with uncomprehending eyes
    A hundred of thy sunsets spill
    Their fresh and sanguine sacrifice,
    Ere the sun swings his noonday sword
    Must say good-bye to all of this; —
    By all delights that I shall miss,
    Help me to die, O Lord.

  16. The World War

    by Anonymous

    This—after nineteen centuries of Christ!
    Only the primal instincts, bad and good,
    The primal heart that primal hate sufficed,
    And not the hero-heart of brotherhood.

    We murder men in vast and modern ways;
    We cram with death the water, earth, and air;
    But still we flounder in primeval haze
    And still our fort is but the caveman's lair,

    We say that God is Love--and worship Might.
    We flatter Reason—then we spit on her.
    Praising the day, we turn to blackest night,
    And build our highway to a sepulchre.

    We prate of Law, but, lawless-hearted still,
    We get our justice through the widow's moan.
    We prate of Mind, and yet our vaunted will
    Achieves its way by brutal force alone.

    We boast of Progress: hear the orphan's cry,
    The wails of mother, sister, lover, wife!
    Full nineteen centuries, and still men die
    in antique orgies of archaic strife.

    The Better Way—how well, how well we know--
    That parts forever from the horrid past.
    O brothers, join to end the ancient woe.
    And let this worst of warfare be the last!

  17. The Dream

    by Grace Hazard Conkling

    A hillside acre or two astride a brook,
    Tipped toward blue valley, fenced with apple-trees,
    A strip of flowery pasture whence the bees
    Could gather flavors for your winter book,
    Red cedar for the hearth, a lane to crook
    An elbow round the cottage, silences
    To tempt the thrushes, simple things like these
    Were in our dream; for these we used to look.
    And now I have found a place of delicate heath
    And downward-leaping stream and leaning hill
    Above a valley blue as grapes are blue,
    It must be fought for as you fight beneath
    The flag of stars. Our dream must wait until
    France has her cities back, and I have you.

  18. The Red Cross Nurses

    by Thomas L. Masson

    Out where the line of battle cleaves
    The horizon of woe
    And sightless warriors clutch the leaves
    The Red Cross nurses go.
    In where the cots of agony Mark death's unmeasured tide&mdash
    Bear up the battle's harvestry &mdash
    The Red Cross nurses glide.

    Look! Where the hell of steel has torn
    Its way through slumbering earth
    The orphaned urchins kneel forlorn
    And wonder at their birth.
    Until, above them, calm and wise
    With smile and guiding hand,
    God looking through their gentle eyes,
    The Red Cross nurses stand.

  19. In Memoriam

    by Ewart Alan Mackintosh

    So you were David’s father,
    And he was your only son,
    And the new-cut peats are rotting
    And the work is left undone,
    Because of an old man weeping,
    Just an old man in pain,
    For David, his son David,
    That will not come again.

    Oh, the letters he wrote you,
    And I can see them still,
    Not a word of the fighting,
    But just the sheep on the hill
    And how you should get the crops in
    Ere the year get stormier,
    And the Bosches have got his body,
    And I was his officer.

    You were only David’s father,
    But I had fifty sons
    When we went up in the evening
    Under the arch of the guns,
    And we came back at twilight -
    O God! I heard them call
    To me for help and pity
    That could not help at all.

    Oh, never will I forget you,
    My men that trusted me,
    More my sons than your fathers’,
    For they could only see
    The little helpless babies
    And the young men in their pride.
    They could not see you dying,
    And hold you while you died.

    Happy and young and gallant,
    They saw their first-born go,
    But not the strong limbs broken
    And the beautiful men brought low,
    The piteous writhing bodies,
    They screamed “Don’t leave me, sir”,
    For they were only your fathers
    But I was your officer.

  20. A Soldier's Cemetery

    by John William Streets

    Behind that long and lonely trenched line
    To which men come and go, where brave men die,
    There is a yet unmarked and unknown shrine,
    A broken plot, a soldier’s cemetery.

    There lie the flower of youth, the men who scorn’d
    To live (so died) when languished Liberty:
    Across their graves flowerless and unadorned
    Still scream the shells of each artillery.

    When war shall cease this lonely unknown spot
    Of many a pilgrimage will be the end,
    And flowers will shine in this now barren plot
    And fame upon it through the years descend:
    But many a heart upon each simple cross
    Will hang the grief, the memory of its loss.

  21. November Eleventh

    by Elizabeth Hanly

    A thousand whistles break the bonds of sleep
    With swift exultant summons wild and shrill;
    Impassioned tongues of flames toward heaven leap
    To tell us peace has come. The guns are still.

    A thousand flags have blossomed in the air
    Like poppies in a garden by the sea.
    Beyond the eastern hills a golden flare
    Foretells the day that broke on Calvary.

    Long darkened Liberty uplifts once more
    Her torch on Belgium, Poland and Alsace
    And Flanders—on each desecrated shore,
    Slow dawns the sun; and on my mother's face
    The look, I think, that Mary must have worn
    In Galilee on Resurrection morn.

  22. Homes, After the War

    by Amos Russel Wells

    In the battles, the frenzy, the dread
    Of this ineffable year,
    In this blur of the living and dead,
    One word is unfailingly clear;
    One word through the anguish of night
    Gleams far in the heavenly dome,
    'Mid the shells in their horrible flight,
    The dear, shining letters of "Home."

    "Home! Home!" in the trench and the mud
    How maddening sweet is the sound!
    "Home! Home!" where a tempest of blood
    Beats hot on the desolate ground!
    What longings, what hope and despair
    From the field or the hospital roam
    To that fairest of all that is fair,
    The dear waiting doorway of home!

    And we who incessantly pray
    And out to the battle-fields yearn,
    Ah, let us make ready the day
    When our heroes shall proudly return;
    The homes they are fighting to save,
    Let us clean them without and within
    From the foulness of traitor and knave,
    The last rotting remnant of sin.

    Let the windows be shining and pure.
    Let the walls be sturdily strong,
    And all of the mansion secure
    From the threat of insidious wrong.
    Let the blossoms of brotherhood spring
    From the heart of the jubilant loam,
    And the bells of all heaven shall ring
    As we welcome our heroes home.

  23. Armistice

    by Sophie Jewett

    The water sings along our keel,
    The wind falls to a whispering breath;
    I look into your eyes and feel
    No fear of life or death;
    So near is love, so far away
    The losing strife of yesterday.

    We watch the swallow skim and dip;
    Some magic bids the world be still;
    Life stands with finger upon lip;
    Love hath his gentle will;
    Though hearts have bled, and tears have burned,
    The river floweth unconcerned.

    We pray the fickle flag of truce
    Still float deceitfully and fair;
    Our eyes must love its sweet abuse;
    This hour we will not care,
    Though just beyond to-morrow's gate,
    Arrayed and strong, the battle wait.

  24. Victory Bells

    by Grace Hazard Conkling

    (November 11, 1918)

    I heard the bells across the trees,
    I heard them ride the plunging breeze
    Above the roofs from tower and spire.
    And they were leaping like a fire,
    And they were shining like a stream
    With sun to make its music gleam.
    Deep tones as though the thunder tolled,
    Cool voices thin as tinkling gold,
    They shook the spangled autumn down
    From out the tree-tops of the town;
    They left great furrows in the air
    And made a clangor everywhere
    As of metallic wings. They flew
    Aloft in spirals to the blue
    Tall tent of heaven and disappeared.
    And others, swift as though they feared
    The people might not heed their cry
    Went shouting VICTORY up the sky.
    They did not say that war is done,
    Only that glory has begun
    Like sunrise, and the coming day
    Will burn the clouds of war away.
    There will be time for dreams again,
    And home-coming for weary men.

  25. Independence Day—1919

    by Margaret E. Sangster

    Over the mists of a century they come, and their tramping feet
    Are light as the dust on the broad highway, or the wind that sways in the wheat;
    Out of the haze of the years between their shadowy hands stretch wide
    To welcome the heroes home again who have fought for their cause and died.

    They went to battle at Concord Bridge, and they fell on Bunker Hill;
    The odds were great, but they struggled on with a stubborn Yankee will;
    They lay in the fields at Lexington when the sun in the west was red,
    And the next year's violets grew on the spot where their valiant blood was shed.

    But they won in the end—with their broken guns and without much food to spare,
    Won at the end of a bitter war, by means that they knew were fair;
    And some of them wandered back to their plows, and some lay wrapped in the loam,
    And slept the sleep of the fearless heart that has fought at home—for home!

    Fought for their homes, at home, they did—but these other boys today
    Fought for the homes of stranger folk three thousand miles away;
    Fought for the honor of the world, and were not afraid to die
    In a muddy trench, in a foreign land, and under a foreign sky!

    They fought on the Marne, at Belleau Wood; they swept through the mad Argonne;
    Chateau-Thierry was theirs to take; they took it and then surged on;
    And now that the fight they fought is won, though they lie in a far-olf grave,
    Their souls come back to the land they loved—the land that they left to save.

    And so, through the damp of the sorry sea, through the wreck of the shell-torn plain,
    They are coming back to homes they loved—they are coming back again!
    And light as the wind that sways in the wheat, or the dust on the broad highway,
    They march to their rendezvous with the ones who died in the yesterday.

  26. A Song for Heroes

    by E. F. Hayward


    A song for the heroes who saw the sign
    And took their place in the battle-line.
    They were walls of granite and gates of brass,
    These heroes that cried, "They shall not pass."
    And they hurled them back in a storm of cheers,
    And the sound will echo on over the years.

    And a song for the end, for the glorious end,
    And the soldiers marching up over the bend
    Of the broken roads in gallant France—
    The homing heroes who took the chance,
    Who looked on life, and with even breath
    Faced the winds from the gulfs of death.
    Their hearts are running on over the graves—
    Over the battle-wrecks—over the waves—
    Over the scarred fields—over the foam—
    On to America—on to home.


    And a song for the others, the heroes slain
    In Argonne Forest—in Saint-Gobain—
    In the flowery meadows of Picardy—
    In Belgium—in Italy—
    From brave Montello to the sea.
    A song for the heroes gone on ahead
    To join the hosts of the marching dead—
    A song for the souls that could lightly fling
    Sweet life away as a little thing
    For the sake of the mighty need of earth,
    The need of the ages coming to birth.

    All praise for the daring God who gave
    Heroic souls that could dare the grave—
    Praise for the power He laid on youth
    To challenge disaster and die for truth.
    What greater gift can the High God give,
    Than the power to die that the truth may live?
    Glory to the Lord, the Hero of Heaven,
    He whose wounds in his side are seven—
    Glory that He gathers the heroes home,
    Out of the red fields, out of the foam—
    Gathers them out of the Everywhere,
    Into the Camp that is Over There!

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