There is a word
Which bears a sword
Can pierce an armed man --
It hurls its barbed syllables
And is mute again --
But where it fell
The saved will tell
On patriotic day,
Some epauletted Brother
Gave his breath away.
Wherever runs the breathless sun --
Wherever roams the day --
There is its noiseless onset --
There is its victory!
Behold the keenest marksman!
The most accomplished shot!
Time's sublimest target
Is a soul "forgot!"
I found him in the guard-room at the Base.
From the blind darkness I had heard his crying
And blundered in.
With puzzled, patient face
A sergeant watched him; it was no good trying
To stop it; for he howled and beat his chest.
And, all because his brother had gone west,
Raved at the bleeding war; his rampant grief
Moaned, shouted, sobbed, and choked, while he was kneeling
Half-naked on the floor.
In my belief
Such men have lost all patriotic feeling.