Verse > Anthologies > Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. > The Second Book of Modern Verse
See also: Joyce Kilmer Biography
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. (1869–1948).  The Second Book of Modern Verse.  1922.
 
Rouge Bouquet
 
Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918)
 
 
IN a wood they call the Rouge Bouquet
There is a new-made grave to-day,
Built by never a spade nor pick
Yet covered with earth ten metres thick.
There lie many fighting men,        5
  Dead in their youthful prime,
Never to laugh nor love again
  Nor taste the Summertime.
For Death came flying through the air
And stopped his flight at the dugout stair,        10
Touched his prey and left them there,
  Clay to clay.
He hid their bodies stealthily
In the soil of the land they fought to free
  And fled away.        15
Now over the grave abrupt and clear
  Three volleys ring;
And perhaps their brave young spirits hear
  The bugle sing:
“Go to sleep!        20
Go to sleep!
Slumber well where the shell screamed and fell.
Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor,
You will not need them any more.
Danger’s past;        25
Now at last,
Go to sleep!”
 
There is on earth no worthier grave
To hold the bodies of the brave
Than this place of pain and pride        30
Where they nobly fought and nobly died.
Never fear but in the skies
Saints and angels stand
Smiling with their holy eyes
On this new-come band.        35
St. Michael’s sword darts through the air
And touches the aureole on his hair
As he sees them stand saluting there,
  His stalwart sons;
And Patrick, Brigid, Columkill        40
Rejoice that in veins of warriors still
  The Gael’s blood runs.
And up to Heaven’s doorway floats,
  From the wood called Rouge Bouquet,
A delicate cloud of buglenotes        45
  That softly say:
“Farewell!
Farewell!
Comrades true, born anew, peace to you!
Your souls shall be where the heroes are        50
And your memory shine like the morning-star.
Brave and dear,
Shield us here.
Farewell!”
 

CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors