Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Boys Out There

I meet with the boys and the gay toasts pass,
The sparkling wine and the cheerfull glass,
The long grey nights and the blazing log;
The clinging folds of the misty fog,
The comforts of homeland everywhere—
I think of the boys who are still out there.

Out there knee-deep in the slush and mud,
Splashed and mingled with comrades’ blood,
Bearing the burden of those who lag
And fear to follow the dear old flag.
Sunset’s grey with the tint of care,
For millions are thinking of those out there.

On earth goodwill and peace to men.
It sounds like a hollow mockery when
I mark the horrors my eyes have seen
(They can never know who have never been)
War striped of its glittering glamour bare—
They see it naked, the boys out there.

They are fighting a sordid war, where trench
And traverse is full of noisome stench;
Theres ittle of berserk warrior lust,
It’s wait and suffer while bayonets rust.
It’s easy to dream in an easy chair;
But I dream and I pray for the boys out there.

Out there wherever “out there” may be,
From Belgiums’s ruins to farthest sea,
Wherever the Union Jack still flies,
Flaunting its pride to the shot-torn skies.
For them our tenderest loving care—
God prosper the boys who are still out there.

Epsom, Xmas 1915

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