oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen

Herbert, "To R- at Anzac"

To R- at Anzac

You left your vineyards, dreaming of the vines in a dream land
And dim Italian cities where high cathedrals stand.
At Anzac in the evening, so many things we planned,
And now you sleep with comrades in the Anafarta sand.

There are men go gay to battle like the cavaliers to dance,
And some with happy dreamings like princes in romance,
And some men march unquestioning to where the answer lies,
The dawn that comes like darkness they meet with lover's eyes.

You heard the bugles call to arms, and like a storm men's cheers,
But veiled behind that music, you knew the women's tears.
You heard the Vikings singing in a rapture to the sea,
And passing clear beyond that song, the waves of Galilee.

You lived for peace and lived for war, you knew no little strife;
To conquer first, then help your foe, made music of your life.
And for the sake of those you led, you gave your life away,
As youth might fling a coin of gold upon a sunny day.

If Odin mustered Vikings, you would rule his pagan crew.
If Mary came to choose her knights, she'd hand her sword to you.
Men scattered in the wilderness, or crowded in the street,
Would choose you for their leader and glory in defeat.

You'd find a bridge to Lazarus, or any man in pain.
There are not many like you that I shall see again;
I do not grieve for you who laughed, and went into the shade,
I sorrow for the dream that's lost, Italian plans we made.

Good-bye! It's Armageddon. You will not prune your vine,
Nor taste the salt of channel winds, nor hear the singing Rhine.
You'll sleep with friends and enemies until the trumpet sounds,
And open are the thrones of kings, and all the Trojan mounds.

When women's tears are rainbows then, that shine across the sky,
And swords are raised in last salute, to a comrade enemy,
And what men fought and failed for, or what men strove and won,
Are like forgotten shadows, and clouds that hid the sun.

--Aubrey Herbert
Tags: wwi poems

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