Red are the hands of the Reapers,
And the harvest is so white!
Red are the feet that are treading
The threshing floors by night:
And, on the young brows, dripping
As with the dews of morn,
Deep rose-red are the woundings,
Like scars of a crown of thorn.
Tired, so many, with reaping, --
Tired with treading the grain,
Still they lie, in their sleeping,
Low in the Valley of Pain, --
Never again to be quaffing
The joy of life, like wine;
Never again to be laughing
In Youth's glad hour divine.
Birds shall sing in the branches,
Children dance by the shore;
But they who shared the red reaping
Shall come back never more.
Let whoso can forget them,
Walking life's noisy ways;
We who have looked on the Reapers
Go quietly, all our days.
France, 1916.(Chaplain of the Force.)
J. W. Cunliffe, ed. Poems of the Great War. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916.