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Best Famous John Mccrae Poems

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by John McCrae |

Quebec

 -1908



Of old, like Helen, guerdon of the strong --
Like Helen fair, like Helen light of word, --
"The spoils unto the conquerors belong.
Who winneth me must win me by the sword.
" Grown old, like Helen, once the jealous prize That strong men battled for in savage hate, Can she look forth with unregretful eyes, Where sleep Montcalm and Wolfe beside her gate?


by John McCrae |

Penance

 My lover died a century ago,
Her dear heart stricken by my sland'rous breath,
Wherefore the Gods forbade that I should know
The peace of death.
Men pass my grave, and say, "'Twere well to sleep, Like such an one, amid the uncaring dead!" How should they know the vigils that I keep, The tears I shed? Upon the grave, I count with lifeless breath, Each night, each year, the flowers that bloom and die, Deeming the leaves, that fall to dreamless death, More blest than I.
'Twas just last year -- I heard two lovers pass So near, I caught the tender words he said: To-night the rain-drenched breezes sway the grass Above his head.
That night full envious of his life was I, That youth and love should stand at his behest; To-night, I envy him, that he should lie At utter rest.


by John McCrae |

Isandlwana

 Scarlet coats, and crash o' the band,
The grey of a pauper's gown,
A soldier's grave in Zululand,
And a woman in Brecon Town.
My little lad for a soldier boy, (Mothers o' Brecon Town!) My eyes for tears and his for joy When he went from Brecon Town, His for the flags and the gallant sights His for the medals and his for the fights, And mine for the dreary, rainy nights At home in Brecon Town.
They say he's laid beneath a tree, (Come back to Brecon Town!) Shouldn't I know? -- I was there to see: (It's far to Brecon Town!) It's me that keeps it trim and drest With a briar there and a rose by his breast -- The English flowers he likes the best That I bring from Brecon Town.
And I sit beside him -- him and me, (We're back to Brecon Town.
) To talk of the things that used to be (Grey ghosts of Brecon Town); I know the look o' the land and sky, And the bird that builds in the tree near by, And times I hear the jackals cry, And me in Brecon Town.
Golden grey on miles of sand The dawn comes creeping down; It's day in far off Zululand And night in Brecon Town.


by John McCrae |

In Flanders Field

 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.


by John McCrae |

In Due Season

 If night should come and find me at my toil,
When all Life's day I had, tho' faintly, wrought,
And shallow furrows, cleft in stony soil
Were all my labour: Shall I count it naught

If only one poor gleaner, weak of hand,
Shall pick a scanty sheaf where I have sown?
"Nay, for of thee the Master doth demand
Thy work: the harvest rests with Him alone.
"


by John McCrae |

Eventide

 The day is past and the toilers cease;
The land grows dim 'mid the shadows grey,
And hearts are glad, for the dark brings peace
At the close of day.
Each weary toiler, with lingering pace, As he homeward turns, with the long day done, Looks out to the west, with the light on his face Of the setting sun.
Yet some see not (with their sin-dimmed eyes) The promise of rest in the fading light; But the clouds loom dark in the angry skies At the fall of night.
And some see only a golden sky Where the elms their welcoming arms stretch wide To the calling rooks, as they homeward fly At the eventide.
It speaks of peace that comes after strife, Of the rest He sends to the hearts He tried, Of the calm that follows the stormiest life -- God's eventide.


by John McCrae |

Equality

 I saw a King, who spent his life to weave
Into a nation all his great heart thought,
Unsatisfied until he should achieve
The grand ideal that his manhood sought;
Yet as he saw the end within his reach,
Death took the sceptre from his failing hand,
And all men said, "He gave his life to teach
The task of honour to a sordid land!"
Within his gates I saw, through all those years,
One at his humble toil with cheery face,
Whom (being dead) the children, half in tears,
Remembered oft, and missed him from his place.
If he be greater that his people blessed Than he the children loved, God knoweth best.


by John McCrae |

Disarmament

 One spake amid the nations, "Let us cease
From darkening with strife the fair World's light,
We who are great in war be great in peace.
No longer let us plead the cause by might.
" But from a million British graves took birth A silent voice -- the million spake as one -- "If ye have righted all the wrongs of earth Lay by the sword! Its work and ours is done.
"


by John McCrae |

Anarchy

 I saw a city filled with lust and shame,
Where men, like wolves, slunk through the grim half-light;
And sudden, in the midst of it, there came
One who spoke boldly for the cause of Right.
And speaking, fell before that brutish race Like some poor wren that shrieking eagles tear, While brute Dishonour, with her bloodless face Stood by and smote his lips that moved in prayer.
"Speak not of God! In centuries that word Hath not been uttered! Our own king are we.
" And God stretched forth his finger as He heard And o'er it cast a thousand leagues of sea.


by John McCrae |

The Hope Of My Heart

 "Delicta juventutis et ignorantius ejus, quoesumus ne memineris, Domine.
" I left, to earth, a little maiden fair, With locks of gold, and eyes that shamed the light; I prayed that God might have her in His care And sight.
Earth's love was false; her voice, a siren's song; (Sweet mother-earth was but a lying name) The path she showed was but the path of wrong And shame.
"Cast her not out!" I cry.
God's kind words come -- "Her future is with Me, as was her past; It shall be My good will to bring her home At last.
"