THE FRONT: 1915.
"It is as if hell were let loose."
--Letter from the Front.
ARE you in hell, my son,
While I am dreaming on this grassy hill,
In the white blossoming
Of England's frail sweet spring ?-
I, who no pain would shun
To shield you from the lightest breath of ill,
My little one.
When, as a child, you fell
And hurt yourself on some unheeded stone,
You raised your tearstained face
That I might kiss the place,
And, kissing, make it well.
Now I am here, on this green hill, alone,
And you-in hell.
Or is it Paradise,
That field where brave men fight with Giant Wrong?
Where death is changed to life
In the heroic strife,
The willing sacrifice
Where Love gives sleep to those who suffer long,
And shuts their eyes.
Nor heaven nor hell is there,
But some dim purgatorial place between,
Where, purified by pain,
The spirit slips its chain,
And, cleaving the bright air,
The young white souls, clear-eyed, august,serene,
Pass to God's care.
A Crown of Amaranth. London: Erskine Macdonald., 1915.