IF I should chance to fall, and find
A last couch on this soil of France,
Do not seek out with yearning mind
The place, nor give my grave one glance.
The cross would mark a cenotaph;
And careless of the flesh thus laid
In unfamiliar earth, I'd laugh
To know how quickly it decayed.
My spirit, freed, impatient still
At the irrelevant, blind stroke
That stole the servant of its will
With all half-done, with thews unbroke.
Would swiftly reach the land which knew
The love that time had not yet staled.
And haunt the country whence it drew
The lii'c tliat has not sped nor failed.
Perhaps beside some lonely copse
A brook would flow with less of ease,
The brooding wind that sways the tops
Murmur more plaintive in the trees.
And should you, lingering there alone.
Feel on your face, some evening
Its touch, that stranger, rarer grown.
Clothes some sweet, straining, h'alf-spoke thing;
Know that the fate self-fixed must yet
Endure, whether I die or live;
And I still strive to ease the debt
Of kisses I was born to give.
France, May, 1917.
Galloway Kyle, ed. More Songs By the Fighting Men: Soldier Poets: Second Series. London: Erskine McDonald, Ltd, 1917.