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OLDIER POETS SECOND SERIES)



OCSB LIBRARY



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3



CLIVEDEN LIBRARY




Number.... - ________

Date



'V&ldorf ASTOR Naacy



THE REMARKABLE VOLUME THAT
GAVE A NEW VOGUE TO POETRY

SOLDIER POETS:

Songs of the Fighting Men.

Cloth, 2/6 net ; Paper ; 1/6 net.

24 Contributors, including CAPT. JULIAN GRENFELL, D.S.O.

(five poems), " EDWARD MELBOURNE," M.C. (three poems),

and SERGT. J. W. STREETS (six poems).

" A wonderful volume." Daily Chronicle.

"A singular proof of spiritual efflorescence. ... A treasury of
remembrance which all must read who would know the soldier's hidden
heart." Morning Post.

" Will be treasured with delight by all lovers of grace and purity in
verse, and with pride that England is represented by such purity."
Yorkshire Post.

" A little volume to treasure . . . contains poems that will become
classics." Daily Mail.

"This volume, compiled with admirable taste and discrimination by
Mr. Galloway Kyle, is the work of soldiers who are also singers. How
sweet their song it needs but a cursory glance through its pages to
reveal. The poems are the reflections of various temperaments, but
they are all informed by the spirit of a high resolve and a dauntless
courage. There is here, too, a certain gaiety of mood which, by some
strange paradox, appears to be one of the compensations of a soldier's
life. Some of these men are now numbered with the slain, but they
have bequeathed to posterity a priceless legacy of song." New Witness.

Dr. Hugh Walker, Professor of Literature and Philosophy at St.
David's College, Lampeter, in the Welsh Outlook :

" Soldier Poets is nearly always distinctly good, and sometimes it
comes near to being great poetry. Certainly the spirit that it shows is
great; There are not infrequent technical flaws: how could it be
otherwise when some, probably many, of the pieces were composed in



the trenches ? But there is the stark sincerity of purpose, the flawless
truth which has been the essence of great art ever since art arose among
men. Though some of the pieces are faulty, they are all tingling with
vitality. They are in touch with reality, yet are nobly free from that
realism which thinks a stench more real than a perfume, and the
polluted slime where a river rolls to the sea through some great city
more real than the infinite ocean beyond.

" These poems from the land of the sights and smells of death are as
wholesome as a new-mown hayfield. And they are so because the
realities the soldiers have fixed their eyes upon are the great realities
of life and death. ' I have tried to picture some thoughts that pass
through a man's brain when he dies,' writes Streets alas ! 'Wounded
and missing, July, 1916.' The man who so tries can never do ignobly.
The vision Streets sees is a reality more enduring than the stench or
the slime. It is Youth thrilling to give for Liberty ' its love, its hope,
its radiant morn.'

"The soldiers always have something particular to say 5 sometimes,
we may be sure, they could not rest until it was said. Let us end with
Captain Grenfell's fine picture of the soldier going into battle. . . .
This is religio milieis not the least noble variety of religion."

"To read these poems by men of all ranks in the British Army is
to weep. But let not the reader deceive himself by tears. It is easy
to weep and feel safe. Tears will little avail us who profit by the
brotherly sacrifice of these splendid youths if our emotions do not react
in effort. . . . The soldier poet never dwells on horror for horror's
sake. He knows what life is, and he finds in it beauty and love even
in the depths of pain. The old style of soldier was inarticulate.
Poets as far apart as Tennyson and Kipling tried to sing for him. They
sang well, but the poverty of their effort can only be measured by such
wonderful soldier verses as these. When the soldier himself sings
there is no flamboyance, no mock heroic. He uses a language simple,
direct, sweet. . . . Here is the secret of the soldier's spirit. We who
cannot fight may be envoisu to learn this secret, but it means travelling
by a hard road. . . . These men have found the realm beyond the
physical." The New East (Tokyo).

The national spirit would be fortified if every adult and every
adolescent were acquainted with this book. Order it now and see that
every friend and every school knows about it. A big Public School
edition is in preparation.

ERSKINE MACDONALD, LTD., LONDON, W.C. i



MORE SONGS BY THE
FIGHTING MEN



MORE SONGS BY THE
FIGHTING MEN

SOLDIER POETS: SECOND SERIES



LONDON
ERSKINE MACDONALD, LTD.



All Rights Reserved.

Copyright in the United States of America by Erskinc Macdonald, Ltd.
First Publithtd December, 79/7.



Preface

AJ Introduction to this second series of " Soldier
Poets " is superfluous. What was said by way of
Foreword to the original volume is equally true. of its
successor. There is the less need for repetition because
that original Introduction and the poems that followed
have been the text of many articles, sermons, and speeches,
including an address by the President of the Board of
Education, who allows us to paraphrase his remarks on
the characteristic features, already noted, of the remark-
able outburst of lyrical poetry from the seat of war.
The poems are remarkedly individual, he pointed out :
they are entirely free from hate and execration. There
is no reviling of the enemy. Our young soldiers look to
poetry as a deliverance from the grim necessities of the
hour rather than as a means of expressing martial emotion.
They do not gush concerning patriotism, but they feel it
none the Irts, and express it soberly, seriously, and with
intense conviction.

The same characteristics, the same yearning over the
beloved country left behind and of tender feeling for
parents and home, are found in all the poems that have
come to us from men in the fighting forces since the
former volume was collected. And here we may repeat,
that while these volumes are typical of the lyrical efflores-
cence of the fighting men, they do not pretend to be
exhaustive : the larger task of sifting already published
work and compiling a more complete anthology has been
undertaken by a devoted advocate of the significance of
the soldier poets' work and its claim to recognition.



Preface

We builded better than we knew when we issued the
original volume as the climax of our proud association
with the soldier poets : it was a greater thing than we
were then aware of. No literary work of our day has
possessed so much genetic force or been of greater in-
fluence. It was well said that " Soldier Poets " was of
greater service to the Allied cause in America than many
Blue Books and specially prepared statements : it showed
the high clean spirit of ardent, generous youth engaged
on a new Crusade. These songs before sunrise gave fresh
vitality to poetry and were welcomed by a nation on
the eve of rebirth as the promise of a greater intensity
of living, a finer perception of beauty, a clearer vision of
the undying splendour after the weary days in which life
and art had become dreary and meaningless to the multi-
tude. Now the birth-throes have become more severe,
the spiritual quickening more accentuated, more and
more of the poems are personal threnodies, and the
sentinel graves of the Poetry Review young men who
responded to the call in 1914 now consecrate the long
line from Nieuport to Basra. They are a more glorious
and more numerous company than the Elizabethans, with
whom, in the great comradeship beyond the grave, they
still march, an invisible army, with their brothers-in-
arms who continue the material and spiritual warfare
here in the flesh, inspiring and directing the fight that
will not end with the war.

GALLOWAY KYLE.

"THE POETRY REVIEW,"
LONDON, W.C.

All Saints' Day, 1917.



Contents

PAGE

ERIC DE BANZIE, Sapper, R.E.

The Gift . . . . . 5

PAUL BEWSHER, Sub.-Lieut., R.N.A.S.

The Dawn Patrol . . . . .16

COLLIN BROOKS, Sergeant, M.G.C.

To Another Poor Poet . . . .18

CARROLL CARSTAIRS, Lieut., Grenadier Guards
Death in France . . . . .19
The Lover's Mood ..... 20
Life and Death ..... 20

ERNEST K. CHALLENGER, Corporal, R.E.

The Harvest ...... 21

ERIC CHILMAN, Private, East Yorks

After-days ...... 27

A. NEWBERRY CHOYCE, Lieut., Leicestershire
Regiment

Supermen ...... 28

Reincarnation ..... 29

Loss ....... 31

REGINALD F. CLEMENTS, Sec. Lieut., Royal
Sussex Regiment

Immortality . . . . . -33

Finis Corona t Opus . . . .34

9



Contents

PACE

LEONARD NIELL COOK, M.C., Sec. Lieut.,
Royal Lanes

Plymouth Sound . . . . -35

GERALD M. COOPER, Sec. Lieut., Scots Guards

Sonnets ...... 36

LESLIE COULSON, Sergeant, London Regiment

" But a Short Time to Live " . . 38

From the Somme ..... 39

The Secret 40

S. DONALD Cox, Private, Rifle Brigade

The Wind in the Trees . . . .41
On a Girl killed by German Shrapnel . 42
Life . 43

JOHN EUGENE CROMBIE, Captain, Gordon
Highlanders

The Dream -path . . . . .44

The Pedlar ... -45

The Gate ...... 46

Desolation ...... 47

The Mist 48

The Shrine ...... 49

Easter Day, 1917 The Eve of the Battle 50

GEOFFREY H. CRUMP, Major, Essex Regiment

God 51

Sunset ....... 52

Off St. Helena 53

Plymouth Mists ..... 54
10



Contents

PACE

R. C. G. DARTFORD, Captain, attached to
Portuguese Expeditionary Force

A Soldier's Question : Spring, 1917 . 56
War-time Consolation .... 57
Welcome Death . . . . -57

CLIFFORD J. DRUCE, Sec. Lieut., Gloucester
Regiment

Forecast . . . . . .58

To a Grave of the Glosters 59

Spying in Picardy ..... 61

H. S. GRAHAM, Captain, R.E.T.

The Seers ...... 62

The Field of Blood .... 63

WILFRID J. HALLIDAY, Sec. Liextt., West
Ycrks

" An Unknown British Soldier " . . 64

MALCOLM HEMPHREY, Corporal, A.O.C.

The New Year ..... 66

BRIAN HILL, Sec. Lieut., Durham Light
Infantry

Salonika in November .... 68

MARTIN HILL, Corporal, R.A.M.C.

On Seeing the Coast of England from
Boulogne ...... 70

Requiescat . . . . -71

II



Contents

PAGE

HAROLD JOHN JARVIS, Corporal, The Duke of
Cornwall's Light Infantry

Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori . 73
At a Wayside Shrine . . . -77

D. T. JONES, Sec. Lieut., M.G.C.

Flint 80

To a Warship 80

R. WATSON KERR, Sec. Lieut., Tank Corps

Sounds by Night 81

Rain 82

The Ancient Thought .... 83

At the Base 83

In Bitterness ..... 84

DUDLEY H. HARRIS, Cadet, Tank Corps

Left Alone ...... 84

FRANK C. LEWIS, Flight Sub.-Lieut., R.N.A.S.
Belgium, 1914 ..... 86

AdProfunda 88

The Downs, looking from Savernake
Forest 89

P. H. B. LYON, Lieut., Durham Light Infantry
Requiem ...... 91

The Lay of the Bombardier 93

IAN H. T. MACKENZIE, Sec. Lieut., Highland
Light Infantry

Desire ....... 95

And So Man Lives .... 96

12



Contents

PAGE

CHARLES JOHN BEECH MASEFIELD, M.C.,
Acting Captain, 5th North Staffs

Enlisted, or The Recruits ... 99
Sailing for Flanders . . . .100

Two Julys ...... 102

In Honorem Fortium . . . .103

JOHN MASON, Captain, Royal Scots

My Country ...... 105

HARLEY MATTHEWS, Private, A.I.F.

Homeward . . . . . .107

MURRAY MCCLYMONT, Sec. Lieut., a/ioth
(Scottish) K.L.R.
God's Acre ...... 109

Hills of Home . . . . .no

To a Fallen Comrade . . . .in

RUDOLPHE Louis NEGROS, Lance-Corporal,
West Yorks

Con Amore . . . . . .113

ARMEL O'CONNOR, Private, East Anglian Field
Ambulance

Violet ....... 120

DAVID Cox McEwEN OSBORNE, Lance-Corporal,
ist Middlesex

May -Day . . . . . .122

Private Claye . . . . .123

13



Contents

PAGE

J. PETERSON, Private, Seaforth Highlanders

Peace .....'.. 124
Arras ....... 125

" RICHARD RALEIGH," Sec. Lieut., O. and B. L.I.
A Soldier's Litany . . . . .127

K. M. SCOBIE, Sec. Lieut., R.G.A.

Lunae . . . . . . .129

R. HOWARD SPRING, Corporal, A.S.C.

Hie Jacet 131

Sonnet ....... 132

At Sunset : September, 1917 . . . 132

The Bells 133

J. E. STEWART, M.C., Captain, Border Regiment
Before Action . . . . .136
Renascence . . . . . 137

Courage . . . . . .138

ERIC FITZWALTER WILKINSON, M.C., Captain,
West Yorks

To a Choir of Birds . . . .139

WALTER LIGHTOWLER WILKINSON, Lieut., 8th
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

A Lament from the Dead . . .140
The Wayside Burial . . . .142
At Last Post ..... 143

Night in War Time . . . 144



ERIC DE BANZIE
SAPPER, R.E.

The Gift

, I have known the dreams of youth . . .
then what

The dead, long, useless years gave promise of ;
Remnants I'll humbly gift thee all I've got,

Which thy sweet thanks shall be the solace of."
Thus spake a restless mind all out of tune
With souls and thoughts the world could offer

him. . . .
Thou know'st he thanked Thee, God, for War's

grand boon

The end, the glory, England proffered him.
The sorrow of his going matters not ;

Only the fierce high glow that in his heart
Lit up those remnants that a rifle shot

Filched from an England who was grieved to part.
Alway, the nobleness that England gives
Rescinds her royal gift so England lives !

FRANCE.



PAUL BEWSHER
D.S.C., SUB-LIEUT., R.N.A.S., FRANCE

The Dawn Patrol

SOMETIMES I fly at dawn above the sea,
Where, underneath, the restless waters flow
Silver, and cold, and slow.
Dim in the east there burns a new-born sun,
Whose rosy gleams along the ripples run,

Save where the mist droops low,
Hiding the level loneliness from me.

And now appears beneath the milk-white haze
A little fleet of anchored ships, which lie

In clustered company,

And seem as they are yet fast bound by sleep,
Although the day has long begun to peep,

With red-inflamed eye,
Along the still, deserted ocean ways.

The fresh, cold wind of dawn blows on my face
As in the sun's raw heart I swiftly fly,
And watch the seas glide by.
16



Paul Bewsher

Scarce human seem I, moving through the skies,
And far removed from warlike enterprise

Like some great gull on high

Whose white and gleaming wings beat on through
space.

Then do I feel witrfGod quite, quite alone,
High in the virgin morn, so white and still,

And free from human ill :
My prayers transcend my feeble earth-bound

plaints
As though I sang among the happy Saints

With many a holy thrill

As though the glowing sun were God's bright
Throne.

My flight is done. I cross the line of foam
That breaks around a town of grey and red,

Whose streets and squares lie dead
Beneath the silent dawn then am I proud
That England's peace to guard I am allowed ;

Then bow my humble head,
In thanks to Him Who brings me safely home.



COLLIN BROOKS

SERGEANT, MACHINE GUN CORPS

To Another Poor Poet

SHALL God forget these darkling years we
spend

In poverty and misery and toil
Unlit save by a glint of faery spoil
That gleams and leads us, steadfast, to His end,
The darkling years when only Hope is friend
To Courage who, from where our foes embroil,
Still calls us onward onward tho' the soil
Engulf both us and all that we defend ?

The spoken word holds true : the swords we wield

Upended show the Cross that, potent yet,

Shall prove each wound we suffer on the field

No sacrifice made vainly to abet

A senseless purpose. Wait but for the yield

Of all our toil and God shall not forget.



18



CARROLL CARSTAIRS

LIEUT., GRENADIER GUARDS

Death in France

IF I should die while I^am yet in France
Before the battle clouds have rolled away,
Give me to feel that death will but enhance
Life's secret vision on its passing day.
Grant then to me new, individual power
In reverie, whilst whimsically I trace
Thro' eager, breathless youth, each pulsing hour,
The light and shadow on its fading face.
And in death's soonest minute let me seek
Life t heightened by new splendour, poise, surprise,
New colour flushing deep its paling cheek,
New wonder looking from its tired eyes.
Time's brought a rare patine to old Romance
Death has an ancient dignity in France.

FRANCE, November, 1916.



More Songs by the Fighting Men



The Lover's Mood

I SAID a careless word, then miserably
Repented, asked forgiveness in sweet rhyme ;
Your face had clouded so, and suddenly
The day had grown a-weary ere her time.



Life and Death

IF death should come with his cold, hasty kiss
Along the trench or in the battle strife,
I'll ask of death no greater boon than this :
That it shall be as wonderful as life.



20



ERNEST K. CHALLENGER
CORPORAL, R.E.

The Harvest

QHADOWLESS lies the land

O Under the sun,

Only the poplars stand

With moveless boughs in the heat

That broods o'er the blackened wheat

And the ground so hardly won.

No other tree in the waste.

They only stand

Where the straight white road is traced

Athwart the land.

And ever under the sky

Do the slow-winged birds go by

The slow black birds of prey

That wait but the close of day

For the night to bring them food.

The curse of the heat is here,
And the curse of blood.
Cold-lipped, and with eyes of fear,
'Neath the sun's flood

21



More Songs by the Fighting Men

Wanders the spirit of death ;
And e'en in the burning noon is an icy breath
And the red of the west is to me like the redness of
blood.

The village is still as the heat,

From the ruined houses start

The rats across the street.

There is never another sound,

For the guns are silent to-day,

And the endless lines of men that are bound

For the place of death and the nameless mound

Have taken another way.

At the end of the ruined street

Roodless the church yet stands

To the God men praise with their lips

While they mock Him with their hands ;

With hands that have scrawled for sport

Their jests on the altar-stone,

And their ribald words on the lips of Christ,

The marred Christ hanging alone.

Who has measured pain,
And who has a plumb for that sea
Where the soul shall know again
Its own immensity ?

22



Ernest K. Challenger

For the voice of the mind is dumb,
But the voice of the soul is heard,
Where the wild dark waters are come
And the face of man's sky is blurred.

Who shall say " Lo here
Shall the glory of war be found,
That a nation arose without fear
And smote her foe to the ground
For the wrong that he dared to dream,
And the hell that he wrought on earth ;
That she pressed after Honour's gleam
Though it led to a land of dearth " ?

Who has measured wrong,
And who shall assign it a bond ?
Where the scornful might of the strong
And the cry of the weak be found
Say, is the tale complete ?
Ah ! myriad wrongs spring up
Where one has set its feet,
And the earth is a poisoned cup
Where the goodly wine brings death,
And one drop of venom there
Shall poison the very breath
Of the winds in the upper air.

23



More Songs by the Fighting Men

What of the men who died
Stout-hearted and steadfast-eyed
For the good they might not share
And the goal to them denied ?
For the lamp they strove to bear
Should light another's way,
And the boon that they might not share
Is the boon we hold to-day.

What of the god-like men

Who lie in the dust to-day

For the dreams that we hold so light

And the hope that we fling away ?

Ah ! shall we not vex their sleep,

We men of the lesser mould,

Who sully the name they bled to keep,

And the honour they died to hold ?

A thousand ages ago

Man fought with the axe of stone

That the many might seize the thing they loved

From the few, and hold it alone.

For the will of the strong was law

And the right of the weak was death

When man was one with the beasts of the earth

And battled with them for breath.

2 4



Ernest K. Challenger

And to-day with their coward lips
Men prate of love in their creeds,
And a thousand times to-day
Do they spurn her with their deeds.
For we talk of the law of truth
While our God is the law of might,
And the will of the strongest there
Is the thing we hold as right.

What have we gained with the years,
But the greater power to lie ?
We, who speak of the truth,
Smooth-voiced and with side-long eye ;
Better the axe of stone
And the feet on the weakest throat
Than the lying lips and the coward thrust
And the stealthy eyes that gloat.

Now for the one's desire

Shall the many be crucified

On the cross of a lawless power

With the nails of a soulless pride.

And the wrong goes deeper yet,

Aye, deep as the springs of life,

And has blossomed out at the 'hest of pride

In the deadly flower of strife.

25



More Songs by the Fighting Men

And nothing shall purge the land

Where the curse of sin has stood

But the purge of the whetted steel

And the drench of blood.

While perchance at the end shall Peace

Her impotent pinions spread

O'er the ruined home and the smoking land

And the blank eyes of our dead.

Hark ! through the lazy air
Comes the sound of guns again.
Once more man reaps with a sickle of fire
The harvest of the slain.

PONT D'ESSARS, FRANCE.



26



ERIC CHILMAN

PRIVATE, EAST YORKS

Afterxdays

WHEN the last gun has long withheld
Its thunder, and its mouth is sealed,
Strong men shall drive the furrow straight
On some remembered battlefield.

Untroubled they shall hear the loud

And gusty driving of the rains,
And birds with immemorial voice

Sing as of old in leafy lanes.

The stricken, tainted soil shall be

Again a flowery paradise
Pure with the memory of the dead

And purer for their sacrifice.



27



A. NEWBERRY CHOYCE

LIEUT., LEICESTERSHIRE REGIMENT

Supermen

SOME souls there are
Who in their trial hours
Bathe in the very blood
Which flows around the heart of Life,
And know its joy and know its agony.
Daring to follow impulse
That any God Himself would not resist.



Stand back !

You weaklings of the world
Boasting the name of men.
Preening yourselves
And judging with your
" God this " and " God that-
Dare not to come
Near these.



Stay with your narrow Gods
Who smugly sit
Within four chapel walls
On Sundays,

28



A. Newberry Choyce

You in some stiff God's house
Who kneel and shiver
Towards a judgment day
Of your own setting.

But if a Destiny too kind

Bring you for one short second

Closer to wisdom ;

To the breathing hills and spaces

Where my God lives

And makes His Throne in every leaf and flower

And whispers in each wind,

Then I will tell you this

That my God is so great

I doubt if He will dare

To judge these souls.



Reincarnation

I LOVED you in Babylon.
Sweet Heart ! you were a dancer then
And I watched where your little feet
Just stirred the dust within the market-place.
You passed me slow and down the sunlit street,
I saw the longing in the eyes of men
29



More Songs by the Fighting Men

Who caught the smile which glorified your face.
A moment little heart ! and you were gone ;
But where you passed' you knew it not
I marked and kissed the spot.

I loved you in royal Rome.

Sweet Heart ! you were a vestal there

And I came to offer my gift.

A poor slave with a pigeon dearly bought,

Its feathers purer than snow's whitest drift.

With fevered soul I made my silent prayer

Though I could never touch the bliss I sought,

While holy Vesta's temple was your home.

A feather fell how should you see ?

Till death it stayed with me.

I love you in London town.

Sweet Heart ! you are a princess now

And the blue blood runs in your veins ;

While I, alas ! am but of common birth

Whom war is splashing with its crimson stains.

A soldier who has taken Honour's vow

To share the grandest task on God's wide earth.

One night you wore red roses in your gown.

A petal dropped you never guessed

I hid it in my breast.

30



A. Newberry Choyce

So shall I still love on.

Sweet Heart ! your soul was close to me

When the world's first dreams were made.

We two were whispering love at God's own side

Or ever sunlight on the mountains played.

And through a wilderness of worlds I see

A time when reunited we shall glide

Unto the Soul of souls, the Perfect One.

Pass, life or lives ! you'll understand

When Love gives me your hand.



Loss

THE world went blind to-day
Groping with shattered faith.
And in the lonely awful night
Madness stalked, taunting me.
The gibbering ghoulish wraith
Of dreams unrealised
Sprang up and mocked my way ;
Just that in one wild spot beyond the sea,
A dear heart that I prized
Passed to the Silent Light.

31



More Songs by the Fighting Men

They say his soul lives on

That I shall find

Him safe in God's eternity.

To-night, to-night, this aching in my breast,

This wildness in my mind

Cries to the farthest cruel star :

" O Thou to Whom his soul has gone,


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