(To a Field Ambulance in Flanders)
I do not call you comrades,
Who did what I only dreamed.
Though you have taken my dream,
And dressed yourselves in its beauty and its glory,
Your faces are turned aside as you pass by.
I am nothing to you,
For I have done no more than dream.
Your faces are like the face of her whom you follow,
The Beloved who looks backward as she runs, calling to her lovers,
The Huntress who flies before her quarry, trailing her lure.
She called to me from her battle-places,
She flung before me the curved lightning of her shells for a lure;
And when I came within sight of her,
She turned aside,
And hid her face from me.
But you she loved;
You she touched with her hand;
For you the white flames of her feet stayed in their running;
She kept you with her in her fields of Flanders,
Where you go,
Gathering your wounded from among her dead.
Grey night falls on your going and black night on your returning.
Under the thunder of the guns, the shrapnel’s rain and the curved lightning of the shells,
And where the high towers are broken,
And houses crack like the staves of a thin crate filled with fire;
Into the mixing smoke and dust of roof and walls torn asunder
And only my dream follows you.
That is why I do not speak of you,
Calling you by your names.
Your names are strung with the names of ruined and immortal cities,
Termonde and Antwerp, Dixmude and Ypres and Furnes,
Like jewels on one chain—
In the high places of Heaven,
They shall tell all your names.
This item is taken from Project Gutenberg