by Lauren Cooper
(1964 - 1999)
(Influenced by LOVE AND THE LOVELESS (author forgotten)
and Walter Blyth in one of L. M. Montgommery's books; Rilla of Ingleside
I think it was called).
The pipe has called the boys to duty:
Willingly they dash to war,
Wearing uniforms so proudly:
Smart symbols of what they're fighting for.
Ships that rock to sea's wild taunting,
Echoes haunting hearts of men.
Tautened muscles as the fighting
British navy drowns again.
Paris hit by long-range guns;
No-Man's-Land a waste of snow
and slush, and rats, and spitting fire.
They're always cold, but they hardly know.
In the trenches - rats and fleas,
Fleas and rats and stinking stenches,
Stale blood and helpless dying,
Bitter, ice-cold, muddy trenches -
Bravely, still, the sickened poet
His quaking nerves with prayer subdues;
The first to act - the bravest knighthood -
The first that's buried in the snows.
The pipe has called ... All the children
Of Canada and England fled
For adventure, to the trenches;
Their spirits return, but their bodies have bled.