Guns At The Front

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Man, simple and brave, easily confiding,
Giving his all, glad of the sun’s sweetness,
Heeding little of pitiful incompleteness,
Mending life with laughter and cheerful chiding,

Where is he?–I see him not, but I hear
Sounds, charged with nothing but death and maiming;
Earth and sky empty of all but flaming
Bursts, and shocks that stun the waiting ear;

Monsters roaring aloud with hideous vastness,
Nothing, Nothing, Nothing! And man that made them
Mightier far than himself, has stooped, and obeyed them,
Schooled his mind to endure its own aghastness,

Serving death, destruction, and things inert,–
He the soarer, free of heavens to roam in,
He whose heart has a world of light to home in,
Confounding day with darkness, flesh with dirt.

Oh, dear indeed the cause that so can prove him,
Pitilessly self–tested! If no cause beaconed
Beyond this chaos, better he bled unreckoned,
With his own monsters bellowing madness above him.

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