Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
XXIX. The Happy Dead
The Winds
By Ina Kitson Clark
 
(By the Mother of a Midshipman, 1915)

‘She of her want did cast in all that she had.’

‘OH! winds who seek, and seek the whole world over,
  Changing from South to North, from heat to cold,
Many and strange the things that you discover,
  Changing from West to East, from new to old.
 
‘Seek out and say, my sailor is he living?’        5
  ‘Oh! foolish mother, dreaming winds would tell!
The winds are deaf with thunder, dumb with grieving.
  Who heeds a boy when all the world is hell?
 
‘They range through league-long, month-long battle seething;
  Tatter the bitter smoke that hides the shame;        10
They mingle with the dying’s painful breathing,
  They fan the smouldering cities into flame.
 
‘Though they find lands where shuddering Peace is waiting,
  Where corn is garnered, cattle led to stall;
Where mills still run and bells of prayer are prating,        15
  Shadow and fear of death hangs over all.
 
‘Pacing our frontiers with our safety weighted,
  Our sentry-ships our world-wide empire range;
From sea to sea the winds rush, always freighted
  With word and password that our ships exchange.        20
 
‘They bear the trumpet-blasts where kings are bringing
  Armies of warriors from the far, far East;
From far, far West through leagues of cornland singing
  They found men hastening on the behest.
 
‘You seek a boy! For all the millions dying        25
  Who drown at sea, or landward fighting fall,
The winds have heard the voice of women crying,
  “Where is my love who, dying, takes my all?”’
 
‘When kings and captains die, the world regrets them:
  My boy is proud to serve the selfsame State.        30
Proud though he die, and all but I forget him,
  I will not grudge him, for the Cause is great.’
 
 
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