Verse > Anthologies > George Herbert Clarke, ed. > A Treasury of War Poetry
George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953).  A Treasury of War Poetry.  1917.
91. The Day’s March
By Robert Nichols
THE BATTERY grides and jingles,
Mile succeeds to mile;
Shaking the noonday sunshine
The guns lunge out awhile,
And then are still awhile.        5
We amble along the highway;
The reeking, powdery dust
Ascends and cakes our faces
With a striped, sweaty crust.
Under the still sky’s violet        10
The heat throbs on the air …
The white road’s dusty radiance
Assumes a dark glare.
With a head hot and heavy,
And eyes that cannot rest,        15
And a black heart burning
In a stifled breast,
I sit in the saddle,
I feel the road unroll,
And keep my senses straightened        20
Toward to-morrow’s goal.
There, over unknown meadows
Which we must reach at last,
Day and night thunders
A black and chilly blast.        25
Heads forget heaviness,
Hearts forget spleen,
For by that mighty winnowing
Being is blown clean.
Light in the eyes again,        30
Strength in the hand,
A spirit dares, dies, forgives,
And can understand!
And, best! Love comes back again
After grief and shame,        35
And along the wind of death
Throws a clean flame.
.    .    .    .    .
The battery grides and jingles,
Mile succeeds to mile;
Suddenly battering the silence        40
The guns burst out awhile …
I lift my head and smile.


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