THE GOING OF THE BATTERY
(November 2, 1899)
- Poems of the Past and Present
O it was sad
Light in their loving
as soldiers can be -
First to risk choosing them, leave alone losing them
Now, in far battle, beyond the South Sea! . . .
- Rain came down drenchingly; but we unblenchingly
d on beside them through mirk
and through mire
They stepping steadily--only too readily! -
Scarce as if stepping brought parting-time nigher.
were gleaming there, living things seeming there,
Cloaked in their tar-cloth
s, upmouthed to the night;
Wheels wet and yellow from axle to felloe,
Throats blank of sound, but prophetic
Gas-glimmers drearily, blearily, eerily
Lit our pale faces outstretched for one kiss
While we stood prest to them, with a last quest
Not to court peril
s that honour could miss.
were those sighs
of ours, blinded
these eyes of ours,
When at last moved away under the arch
All we loved. Aid for them each woman
prayed for them,
Treading back slowly the track of their march.
Someone said: "Nevermore will they come: evermore
Are they now lost to us." O it was wrong!
Though may be hard their ways, some Hand will guard their ways,
Bear them through safe
ly, in brief time or long.
- Yet, voices haunting
in the night-time when life beats are low
Other and grave
r things . . . Hold we to brave
Wait we, in trust, what Time
's fulness shall show.