Verse > Anthologies > George Herbert Clarke, ed. > A Treasury of War Poetry
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George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953).  A Treasury of War Poetry.  1917.
 
99. “—But a Short Time to Live”
 
By Leslie Coulson
 
 
OUR little hour,—how swift it flies
  When poppies flare and lilies smile;
How soon the fleeting minute dies,
  Leaving us but a little while
To dream our dream, to sing our song,        5
  To pick the fruit, to pluck the flower,
The Gods—They do not give us long,—
  One little hour.
 
Our little hour,—how short it is
  When Love with dew-eyed loveliness        10
Raises her lips for ours to kiss
  And dies within our first caress.
Youth flickers out like wind-blown flame,
  Sweets of to-day to-morrow sour,
For Time and Death, relentless, claim        15
  Our little hour.
 
Our little hour,—how short a time
  To wage our wars, to fan our hates,
To take our fill of armoured crime,
  To troop our banners, storm the gates.        20
Blood on the sword, our eyes blood-red,
  Blind in our puny reign of power,
Do we forget how soon is sped
  Our little hour?
 
Our little hour,—how soon it dies:        25
  How short a time to tell our beads,
To chant our feeble Litanies,
  To think sweet thoughts, to do good deeds.
The altar lights grow pale and dim,
  The bells hang silent in the tower—        30
So passes with the dying hymn
  Our little hour.
 

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