Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
The Home-coming
By George Marian
THEY come back!—
Up the great street,
To the drum-beat and the heart-beat
And the thud of tramping feet;
To the lightning and the thunder        5
Of the nation in the street.
They come back
From that heart-breaking
Terrible leave-taking,
From the cold lips        10
Of the unquiet sea, and the lips
Of the dead children of the ships,
From the unending waiting
Wrapped in that death unending,
And the quick charging        15
Into what mess
Of bloodiness,
They come back!
O hearts that bled,
See—they are not dead!        20
They come back! They come back!
They come back!
Up the great street,
To the drum-beat and the heart-beat
And the sense of shadow feet,        25
To the tear-drops and the heart-stops
Of the pale ones in the street,
March the ghosts
Of all the hosts
That went but come not back.        30
From the heart-breaking
Terrible leave-taking,
From the hell
Where they fell,
From that ghastly night ride,        35
And the lonesome row of beds where they died,
They come back
Up the great street,
To the drum-beat and the heart-beat
And the music of the street,        40
To the laurel wreath of tears
And the crown of honor of cheers
From the nation in the street
For the smooth brow
And the still feet.        45
O hearts that bled,
And bleed and bleed,
For your dead
Who to our utter need
Gave what they had,        50
If we who see our loved ones live
To-day rejoice
With straining arms and husky voice!
Forgive, forgive!        55
They come back.
Up the great street
To the madness of the gladness
Of the people in the street,
The wounded come        60
From the heart-breaking
Terrible leave-taking
They come back
To the memory and the aching.        65
O you of the torn flesh,
Now when you hear our cheering and our cry
Of welcome, do not glaze your eye
With that strange wondering why
You did not die!        70
The empty earth about you
Could not endure without you!
You are the faith that’s in us, and the seeing
Beyond ourselves into our utmost being.
They come back,        75
Up the thousand streets,
To the uproar and the furore
And the wild joy of the streets,
To the lightning and the thunder
And the rainbow in our hearts.        80
Then shout, throats, and brasses, blare!
And flags and bugles, tear the air!
For here go
Heroes of heroes, they who dare
For dreams give things—        85
Flowers and houses and love
For the vision of
The spirit that is in them.
Blow, flags, and bugles, blow!
Here where our heroes go        90
All of the most beautiful and great—
The poems and the music of all time,
The sense that there is something that’s sublime—
Are marching up the street!
Up the great street,        95
To the drum-beat and the heart-beat,
And the cadence of their feet;
Up the great street,
From what heart-breaking
Terrible leave-taking,        100
From what bloodless treachery
And what bloody butchery,
They come back veiled in their victory!

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