If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' eastward to the sea,
There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
"Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!"
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can't you 'ear their paddles chunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay?
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin'-fishes play,
An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!
I said---Then, dearest, since 'tis so,
Since now at length my fate I know,
Since nothing all my love avails,
Since all, my life seemed meant for, fails,
Since this was written and needs must be---
My whole heart rises up to bless
Your name in pride and thankfulness!
Take back the hope you gave,---I claim
For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love,
Or chide my palsy, or my gout,
My five grey hairs, or ruin'd fortune flout,
With wealth your state, your mind with arts improve,
Take you a course, get you a place,
Observe his Honour, or his Grace,
Or the King's real, or his stamped face
Contemplate, what you will, approve,
So you will let me love.
Happy are men who yet before they are killed
Can let their veins run cold.
Whom no compassion fleers
Or makes their feet
Sore on the alleys cobbled with their brothers.
The front line withers,
But they are troops who fade, not flowers
For poets' tearful fooling:
His mother waited in the window until she took her last breath... never receiving the news... never knowing closure... the boy who never returned... the unknown soldier...
The fiancé who cried herself to sleep every night... letters unanswered... days turned to weeks... months turned to years... not knowing whether to remain forever faithful... or to simply move on... the boy who never returned... the unknown soldier...
The dad who was never able to retire... he kept the family business running so that one day his son would have something to return home to... a dad who never lost faith... until he could work no longer... the boy who never returned... the unknown soldier...
The younger brother who lost his idol... a brother he always looked up to... his role model and his protector... feeling too guilty to ever use his catcher’s mitt... the boy who never returned... the unknown soldier...
© 2020 Jeffrey Pipes Guice
So, I sees ’im in the grocery store a-shufflin’ down the aisle.
‘Is cart stuffed to the brim with food an’ wife ‘n’ kids in tow.
An’ I can’t ‘elp but let myself put on a great big smile
At this image of the rough-an’-tumble man I used to know.
“Troop!” says I, when ‘e gets near; ‘e looks me up an’ down.
Then ‘e too smiles as broad as paint; ‘is missus starts to frown.
“Well it’s bin years,” ‘e says to me, I scarcely knew ‘twas you
An’ we settled down to chew the fat ‘bout ol’ days that we knew.
ADIEU, O soldier!
You of the rude campaigning, (which we shared,)
The rapid march, the life of the camp,
The hot contention of opposing fronts- the long manoeuver,
Red battles with their slaughter,- the stimulus- the strong, terrific
Spell of all brave and manly hearts- the trains of Time through you,
and like of you, all fill'd,
With war, and war's expression.
A MARCH in the ranks hard-prest, and the road unknown;
A route through a heavy wood, with muffled steps in the darkness;
Our army foil'd with loss severe, and the sullen remnant retreating;
Till after midnight glimmer upon us, the lights of a dim-lighted
We come to an open space in the woods, and halt by the dim-lighted
'Tis a large old church at the crossing roads--'tis now an impromptu
--Entering but for a minute, I see a sight beyond all the pictures
BATHED in war's perfume--delicate flag!
(Should the days needing armies, needing fleets, come again,)
O to hear you call the sailors and the soldiers! flag like a
O to hear the tramp, tramp, of a million answering men! O the ships
they arm with joy!
O to see you leap and beckon from the tall masts of ships!
O to see you peering down on the sailors on the decks!
Flag like the eyes of women.