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THE-BOMBING-OF-BRUGES 



CAPTAIN PAUL BEWSHER-,D,SjC.,RAJ? 



i 





iu i^ 



/,. 



V 



THE BOMBING OF BRUGES 



BY 



CAPTAIN PAUL BEWSHER, D.S.C., R.A.F. 

AUTHOR OF 'THE DAWN PATROL' 



TO 



MADELEINE GREY 






l\ 



PAUL REWSHER 



THE BOMBING OF 

BRUGES 



HODDER AND STOUGHTON 

LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO 

MCMXVIII 



* Searchlights ' and * A Night Hymn ' have 

appeared in the Graphic ; * The Victors of 

the Air,' * To Victoria Station,' * Crossing 

the Lines,' and * The Changed World ' in 

the Weekly Dispatch, 

P. B. 



N 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 



Thb Bombing of Bruges 


• 




• 


7 


The Ordeal • 


• 




• 


19 


The Night Bombers . 


9 




• 


27 


Crossing the Channel 


fl 




• 


31 


The Death of Romance 


• 




• 


35 


The Sacrifice . 


• 




• 


39 


Flying at Dusk 


1 




• 


43 


Nox Mortis . 


ft 




• 


45 


The Call of the Twilight 


» 




» I 


47 


Searchlights . 


» 




• 


49 


Crossing the Lines 


1 




• 


51 


The Stars 


« 




• 


53 


The Changed World. 


a 




• 


55 


A Night Hymn 


• 




1 


57 


The Victors of the Air 


■ 




• 


59 


To Roy Allan 


• 




• 


61 


To Victoria Station . 


• 




t 


63 




PAGE 



The Nurses of England . . . . 


65 


DUNQUERQUE ..... 


67 


NiEUPORT ..... 


69 


The Real Love .... 


71 


FORGETFULNESS ...... 


75 


Back in London .... 


77 


The Three Loves . . . . . 


79 


Macabre ...... 


81 



VI 




THE BOMBING OF BRUGES 

Sleep on, pale Bruges, beneath the waning moon. 
For I must desecrate your silence soon, 
And with my bombs' fierce roar, and fiercer fire. 
Grim terror in your tired heart inspire : 
For I must wake your children in their beds 
And send the sparrows fluttering on the leads ! 
Night after weary night no peace you know, 
But o'er your roof you hear our engines go : 
Poor stricken town, so long the home of those 
Your very stones cry out against — your foes. 
Who tramp your cobbled squares with heavy 

feet 
And mock your country in its sad defeat. 
Night after night, your troubled sleep is torn, 
And, cold and weary, you await the morn. 
Which brings you peace, and to your tired eyes 
Reveals the smoke which pours towards the skies. 
And is a silent record of our flight 
Hid in the darkness of the cursed Night ! 
Sleep on — sleep on — your time is yet to come : 
Your sentries have not heard our engines' hum 
As at their posts they wander up and down 
Upon the outskirts of the sleeping town. 
Beside the ready guns the soldiers sleep : 
The countryside is wrapt in silence deep. 



B 



The searchlight's eye is shut : its warden stands 
And beats against his chest his freezing hands. 
The men whom I must kill in slumber lie . . . 
And Death is creeping to them through the sky ! 
I know them not, and I will never know 
That I have killed them . . . and the bitter woe 
Which I must bring to many a happy heart — 
The life-long bond of love which I must part : 
The lover and his sweetheart, waiting long, 
Who now will never hear her bridal song : 
The husband and his lonely wife, who will 
Have only emptiness her years to fill : 
The raptured bridegroom on his wedding-day — 
Whom I must slay — alas ! — whom I must slay, 
And all this horror I shall never know. 
I come ... I pause and kill . . . and then I go. 
Sleep on, sleep otiy you have an hour of life : 
Above you hangs the Damoclean knife 
Although you know it not, and when it drops 
Your soul lives on — your loved one's living 

stops ! 
Sleep on . . . sleep on . . . your time is not complete : 
The minutes slowly pass with leaden feet. 
And I perhaps must die to-night as well. 
To meet your souls in Heaven or in Hell. 
So now I pray high in the midnight skies 
To Him who sees with understanding eyes : 

8 




To Him who knows what comes to us to-night ; 
To Whom the darkness is unending light : 
Who knows where every shell which lies below 
In loaded rack must in its transit go, 
And where it will explode, ay ! even where 
The splintered steel will cut the screaming air — 
To Him who knows if I to-night must die 
Amidst the cloudy chapels of the sky, 
Where now I worship Him on bended knees. 
And cross myself, before once more I seize 
The ledge before me, for I have been thrown 
Against the back, so much the air has blown 
Upon my chest, for at a whirling pace 
We rush on wings of wood and steel through 

space. 
Now must I be prepared for what will come : 
Soon will the sentries hear our engine's hum, 
And this untroubled voyaging will cease 
For hot and flaming War will kill my peace. 
But still the minutes pass in order slow 
As o'er a dreaming countryside we go. 
It is a splendid and a gorgeous sight — 
This quiet world beneath the silver light 
Cast by the moon which floats, serene and high. 
Amidst the scattered jewels of the sky. 
Far on my left there gleams the hazy sea 
Which lies between my land of love and me. 



I see the Belgian coast, unbroken, straight, 

From Holland down to France, in far-flung state — 

Zeebrugge, Blankenberghe, De Haan, Ostend 

To Nieuport, where the distance starts to blend 

The sea, the land, the sky in one dim blue, 

And veils all landscape with its misty hue. 

I see the lights of Flushing, twinkling bright, 

To add new constellations to the Night, 

Below there lies the tranquil countryside 

In endless repetition, far and wide. 

The long, straight roads, like ribbons thin and 

pale 
Across the shadowy fields and meadows trail : 
The wide and straight canals, distant and black : 
The scarce-seen etching of the railway track — 
Straight, and precisely ruled, as on the map 
Which I before had kept upon my lap 
But have discarded now, for I can see 
A clearer map below to speak to me. 
Now am I ready for the fiery hell 
Of blinding searchlights, and swift-flashing shell. 
Soon will suspicion whisper in their ears. 
And breed a cloud of enmity and fears. 
The long thin beams will leap across the night 
And hold me in their eye of blinding light — 
But steadily towards the town we go 
Unchallenged by the waiting guns below. 



10 




Now I can see the target for my load 
Which hangs behind me ready to explode : — 
Fourteen great bombs which are the friends of 

Death, 
Of battered bodies and of bubbling breath — 
The weapons which are foreordained to slay 
Men I have never seen — yet I will pray 
That their poor souls may rest in lasting peace 
Since I this load of evil must release. 
Now I ami almost o'er the crowded docks — 
Far from the ground, inside a wooden box, 
Alone and unprotected in the sky ; 
Aware that I perhaps may have to die 
In a few moments . . . but the men below 
fVill die before me, for with movement slow 
I push the wooden lever by my side, 
And hear a click behind as four bombs slide 
Into the darkness . . • hang . . . and turn around. 
And rush in screaming progress to the ground. 
Again, again, I pull the lever back 
And push . . . and hear the clatter of the rack 
Behind me as the yellow bombs drop clear 
And shriek towards the ground, and bring swift fear 
To many a man that knows not where to hide. 
But crouches-emotionless and terrified. 
Then I look far below with eager eyes 
To where the unsuspecting country lies . . . 



II 



Sleep on no more ! . The bombs are screaming down, 

And sleep is murdered in the little town ! 

In a few seconds I shall be accursed 

As, one by one, my deadly missiles burst. 

And throw into the sky their lingering flash, 

And shake the houses with each heavy crash. 

The first has struck ... I see the spurt of flame 

Which slowly dies away . . . and then the same 

Slow dying flash . . . and then near-by again 

Another bursts ... and in a steady rain 

One after one these flaming flowers bloom 

And scatter scarlet pollen thick with doom. 

Across the docks one after one they fall, 

But I am not allowed to see them all. 

For with the first loud roar and burst of smoke 

The enemy awakes . . . the spell is broke ! 

Ten wide white searchlights leap into the sky 

And split the darkness with their piercing eye — 

Like keen bright swords they pierce the purple 

night 
And hide the country from my dazzled sight. 
As their white arms go sweeping to and fro 
In ceaseless searchings, cunning, cruel, slow. 
All ready if one touch my mighty wing 
To hold it in their grasp, and then to cling. 
And like an octopus to drag me down 
To those dim fields beside the darkened town. 



12 



Towards me now, though I am still unseen, 
Rise flaming balls of brightest emerald green : 
In long fantastic chains they hurry by 
Towards the upper darkness of the sky. 
Like beads of burning jade, swift from the ground. 
They soar in sweeping curves, and stream around 
The wide-stretched wings — on which they cast a 

glow 
Of ghostly light as through the air they go ; 
Then like a row of lamps they float on high 
E'er, bright red sparks, they fade away and die. 
Now there begins another menace grim. 
The third dread horror of this midnight grim — 
This hot inferno o'er the boiling earth 
To whose volcanic rage I gave swift birth 
When I let fall my whistling bombs, for . . . see ! 
Four quick red flashes . . . then another three, 
And then, far to my left, another four . . . 
Swift vicious flashes — ^more— and more— and more. 
The guns have started with a mad desire 
To fill all space with spouts of bursting fire. 
One shell flames out — ^I hear its sharp short crack, 
And then yet others far behind my back : 
And then these sparks on either side appear 
Ahead . . , below . . . some far, but some too near. 
Ah ! Now no more I move in regions dim. 
For in a sudden blaze of light I swim. 

13 



A searchlight holds me in its cruel grip 
And lights with blinding glare my little ship, 
Towards me then a dozen white beams turn 
And full on me a dozen white eyes burn. 
All I can see is light— cruel, glowing light. 
Revealing, cold, relentless, blinding white, 
And I feel stripped and naked in the sky : 
I feel ashamed, as though caught on the sly 
Upon some evil work . . . and I can see 
No ground below, no stars high over me. 
But in a sea of blinding light I float 
Like some defenceless, fragile little boat 
Found by a searchlight in a hostile bay 
Which vainly strives to take itself away 
While all along the cold unfriendly shore 
The lights shine on it, and the cannons roar. 
For now that in the sky I have been seen 
The guns are turned against the frail machine 
Which like a small white bird so slowly goes 
Above the country of its angry foes. 
A thousand eyes must watch me in the town : 
A thousand souls must wish to bring me down. 
As I plunge onward through the flaming hell 
Of blinding brightness and of bursting shell. 
Now by a ring of searchlights I am bound 
Whose cold blue eyes shut out the unseen 
ground ; 

14 



So to my heart there comes the voice of fear — 
The sweat breaks out ... so clear am I ... so clear ; 
And in my inner heart so well I know 
A shell may hit me as I slowly go 
At any moment . . • then 'tis Death who mocks 
The fall of one who brought death to the docks ! 
I wildly pray . . . the shells with ceaseless flash 
Throw ruddy gleams upon our wings . • . their crash 
Sounds with a hideous thunder on my ears, 
And adds new terrors to my crowding fears. 
Below the Germans watch with thoughtful eyes 
This strange unequal contest in the skies. 
They see a little bird-like shape which seems 
Fixed on the apex of a dozen beams 
Of slender light — ^a little bird at bay 
Which tries and tries in vain to get away, 
And in the friendly darkness longs to hide. 
They see, and with a well-deserved pride. 
The noisy shells which burst without a stop 
All round the shape ; they long to see it drop. 
I am the enemy, and they are We* 
* We ^ve found him now ! ' they say, * he can't get 

free, 
We '// hit the brute — ^look at that last one burst — 
That nearly got him ! ' — so I fly accursed 
Alone and unprotected in the slqr. 
Hoping to live, and dreading I may die ! 

c 15 



They do not picture me crouched in my seat, 
Dreading to watch the shells, and on my feet 
Gazing with frightened eyes, biting my lip, 
And longing, praying, for that blinding grip 
Of cruel light to loose its clinging hold 
Ere we are hit. O that the night could fold 
Its velvet wings around us and release 
The awful strain, and let us go in peace ! 
But still around us pass the emerald streams 
Of glowing balls : the maddest of my dreams 
Could not conceive a wonder half so queer. 
The glittering jewels pass us very near. 
And they alone can make my terror less 
And bring a light relief to my distress. 
So beautiful they are — like gorgeous gems 
Which deck the night with glowing diadems. 
The shells still shout their noisy song of hate — 
Our fall alone their fury will abate. 
Our wings the cruel searchlights still reveal 
And then ... a subtle change of glow I feel. 
I look behind, and see, across the skies 
Long searching beams instead of dazzling eyes ! 
We have escaped at last ! I laugh and shout. 
For we have passed through Hell, and have come 

out 
Unscathed — ^untouched ! The ending of the strain 
Brings for a moment madness to my brain ! 

i6 



My hand is shaking and the palms are wet : 

But in this new found peace I soon forget 

The thousand terrors which beset my mind 

In those dread minutes we have left behind. 

Home lies before us now, and food, and sleep, — 

The voice of friends who patient vigil keep 

Upon the ground, and wait for our return. 

And search the East, where soon our lamps will burn 

Like two small emerald and scarlet eyes 

Which slowly move across the star-decked skies. 

Now do I talk to him, whose ready mind 

Has fought these terrors we have left behind 

And quite unmoved by all the seething fire 

Has piloted this ship of wood and wire ; 

Who with a sensitive and ready hand 

Has guided me above the hostile land. 

And now conducts me back towards the lines 

Where, here and there, a drifting star-shell shines, 

-And droops, and falls, and slowly dies away, 

And lets the friendly Darkness follow Day. 

Now Fear has gone, and we can talk and eat. 

As on the floor we stamp our freezing feet. 

The lines draw near ... we pass them . . . and are 

free, 
And then a splendid gladness comes to me. 
Life seems so wonderful, and strangely dear, 
As it must do when Death has drifted near 



17 



And you have stared him in his mocking eyes, 
High in the terrors of the hostile skies ! 
We land ... we laugh . . . and it is all a dream . . . 
Bruges • . . and the bursting shells . . . and all its 

gleam 
Of rigid searchlights in a flaming ring, 
And glittering balls of green . . . string after string. 
I creep inside my soft and quiet bed 
And on my pillow lay my tired head. 
I thank my God that He has brought me back 
And feel Him by me . . . then my thought grows 

black. 
Sleep kisses me upon each shuttered eye 
And God smiles on me from His quiet sky. 



To 

Major /. F. Jones^ D.S.C., R,A.F.y 
my splendid pilot. 



i8 



THE ORDEAL 

No gold of poetry will deck this tale — 
This gloomy record of an awful night ; 

With pleasant words my fear I will not veil, 
Or hide the horrors of the fatal flight. 

Straight to the grim disaster I shall take 
Your curious minds, and not discuss the task 

Which I had finished, for discretion's sake. 
I must not say one word, so do not ask. 

High o'er a dark and misty sea we flew. 

Though long already had the midnight past, 

And I was cold and tired, but I knew 

That I was bound for home and sleep at last. 

Beside me sat the pilot at his wheel. 

We laughed and talked : our toil was almost done ; 
A well-earned sense of freedom we could feel. 

Our work was over : our return begun. 

So all seemed peace to us as we flew on, 
When suddenly the hand of heartless Fate 

Passed lightly over us, and then was gone, 
But it had left a legacy of hate. 

19 



Hate in my heart that just one small mischance 
Could cause that awful night of death and woe, 

When we had led the foe a merry dance, 

And mocked his searchlights and his guns below. 



But now . . • the engine's roar had died away,^ 
No longer could we travel on at will, 

And for dim hours through the midnight stray : 
Fear touched my heavy heart with fingers chill ! 



At once towards our home we took our course. 
And plunged on through the darkness of the Night ; 

But now, cursed by the engine's lack of force. 
We slowly, surely, lost and lost our height. 

Our eyes were fixed upon the lighted dials — 
Upon the compass, and upon the disc 

Whose height-recording finger weighed our trials — 
For as it sank, so rose our awful risk. 



It was a tournament of time and space 
Between the dragging minutes and the miles : 

It was a grim and unrelenting race, 
Whose prize was Life and all her wreathed smiles. 



20 



N 



Then we sank down into a misty cloud, 
And saw no star above, no sea below ; 

But through a cold black emptiness we ploughed, 
And where we went or turned, we did not know. 

Lost, lost at night, by utter darkness bound. 
And every moment drifting farther down — 

Not knowing if o'er sea or solid ground, 
And wondering if we will live or drown ! 

Then through the dripping clouds we burst at last, 
And over miles of water still we flew : 

All hope, all empty confidence was past 

For now our Fate was sure. We knew — tve knew. 



Lower and lower o'er the chilly sea 

We drifted down. My heart grew cold with fear. 
A sense of hopelessness came over me 

As to the sea our great machine drew near. 

The pilot, with a heart of utter gold 

Not for one moment flinched, but held the wheel, 
Though Death was waiting in the waters cold. 

Though Fear like mine he must have grown to 
feel. 



21 



He spoke to me to cheer my drooping heart 
With words of staunchest courage : he was strong 

In soul and body, and he stands apart 

From all whom I have met in Life's fierce throng. 



Now for one moment we rush o'er the flood, 
And then we strike . . . there is a splitting crash ! 

I am whirled forward . . . one swift sickening thud, 
Then I leave thought in one bright blinking flash ! 

Ah ! Is this death . . . obliviousness black, 
And I have left the weary, wailing world ? 

Then I feel torture in my twisted back. 
Which struck the sea where I was madly hurled. 

Then chilly water blinds my painful eyes, 

I find myself in heav)" sodden dress 
Being dragged beneath the water, and my cries 

Give piteous witness to my great distress. 



Ah ! Must I drown like some poor weighted cat. 
And leave the record of my bubbling breath ? 

I cannot swim. My boots forbid me that. 

And my thick clothes will cause my watery death. 



22 



^ 



I sink . . . and then, with mad despairing strength, 
Towards the wreck my twisted body fling, 

And reach a floating broken wing at length, 
And to its friendly surface feebly cling. 



I shout for help in an unpausing shriek. 
For I can scarcely hold my leaden weight. 

I still hang in the sea . . . my arms are weak, 
A little lapse of time decides my fate. 



I hang, deep in the sea, wet, and in pain. 
And know that drowsy Death is very near. 

No thought of childhood comes to me again ; 
My mind is occupied with stabbing fear. 

I want to live, and Life seems very sweet — 
I want to live, and tell my dreadful tale. 

For, if I die, then I will ne'er repeat 
My wanderings deep in Death's shadowed vale. 



Ignoble thoughts like these throng to my mind 
As I send piteous wailings o'er the sea. 

And hope and hope that some ear they may find, 
And bring a swift assistance here to me. 

D 23 



Then I am tempted to release my grip 

And sink, and sink beneath the luring swell. 

And from this world of sorrow softly slip, 
And drift to sleep and never say farewell. 

But instinct over-rules this fair desire, 
And still I cUng, and still I shout for aid. 

My urging fears my weakened hands inspire — 
I am afraid — ah ! I am so afraid ! 

I think how long above the sea I flew 
And knew no barrier in the endless air, 

Until inside my soul a pride there grew 
So powerful and noble was I there. 

But now my element has swiftly changed. 
The bird is fluttering in the waters grim, 

And with its useless feathers disarranged 
Goes, crying, to a destiny most grim. 

Then . . . then ... I hear a voice which shouts 
' HoU on / ' 

And with my strength renewed I clench my hand. 
The dread of certain drowning now has gone — 

There is yet hope. I may once more see land. 

24 



Once more the flowers in the fields of Spring 
May cast their scent before me as I dream, 

Lulled by the happy thrushes as they sing 
Beside the rippling of a little stream. 

I hear the splendid sound of splashing oars, 
A boat comes up behind me, and I hear 

The soft sweet sound of voices, and it pours 
Like rhapsodies of music on my ears. 

Strong hands come down towards me. I leave go 
The wreck which saved me, and inside the boat 

Sodden and weak I fall . . . and then I know 
My pilot on the water does not float. 

Drowned, drowned, dear God ! Ah ! I weep bitter 
tears. 

And cry out madly to the heedless night ! 
Forgotten are my vivid pressing fears, 

A far worse agony my soul must bite. 

Why should I live when one as good as he 
Still holds with steady hands the useless wheel 

Down in the shadows of the lower sea ? — 
Why should I live such agony to feel ? 



Then I am tempted to release my grip 
And sink, and sink beneath the luring swell. 

And from this world of sorrow softly slip, 
And drift to sleep and never say farewell. 

But instinct over-rules this fair desire. 
And still I cling, and still I shout for aid. 

My urging fears my weakened hands inspire — 
I am afraid — ^ah ! I am so afraid ! 

I think how long above the sea I flew 
And knew no barrier in the endless air. 

Until inside my soul a pride there grew 
So powerful and noble was I there. 

But now my element has swiftly changed. 
The bird is fluttering in the waters grim. 

And with its useless feathers disarranged 
Goes, crying, to a destiny most grim. 

Then . . . then ... I hear a voice which shouts 
' Hold on / ' 

And with my strength renewed I clench my hand. 
The dread of certain drowning now has gone — 

There is yet hope. I may once more see land. 

24 



Once more the flowers in the fields of Spring 
May cast their scent before me as I dream, 

Lulled by the happy thrushes as they sing 
Beside the rippling of a little stream. 

I hear the splendid sound of splashing oars, 
A boat comes up behind me, and I hear 

The soft sweet sound of voices, and it pours 
Like rhapsodies of music on my ears. 

Strong hands come down towards me. I leave go 
The wreck which saved me, and inside the boat 

Sodden and weak I fall . . . and then I know 
My pilot on the water does not float. 

Drowned, drowned, dear God ! Ah ! I weep bitter 
tears. 

And cry out madly to the heedless night ! 
Forgotten are my vivid pressing fears, 

A far worse agony my soul must bite. 

Why should I live when one as good as he 
Still holds with steady hands the useless wheel 

Down in the shadows of the lower sea ? — 
Why should I live such agony to feel ? 



Then I am tempted to release my grip 
And sink, and sink beneath the luring sweU, 

And from this world of sorrow softly slip, 
And drift to sleep and never say farewell. 

But instinct over-rules this fair desire. 
And still I cling, and still I shout for aid. 

My urging fears my weakened hands inspire — 
I am afraid — ah ! I am so afraid ! 

I think how long above the sea I flew 

And knew no barrier in the endless air. 
Until inside my soul a pride there grew 

So powerful and noble was I there. 

But now my element has swiftly changed. 
The bird is fluttering in the waters grim, 

And with its useless feathers disarranged 
Goes, crying, to a destiny most grim. 

Then . . . then ... I hear a voice which shouts f 

* HoU on ! ' 
And with my strength renewed I clench my hand. 

The dread of certain drowning now has gone- 
There is yet hope. I may once more sec land. 

24 



Once more the flowers in the fields of Spring 
May cast their scent before me as I dream, 

Lulled by the happy thrushes as they sing 
Beside the rippling of a little stream. 

I hear the splendid sound of splashing oars, 
A boat comes up behind me, and I hear 

The soft sweet sound of voices, and it pours 
Like rhapsodies of music on my ears. 

Strong hands come down towards me. I leave go 
The wreck which saved me, and inside the boat 

Sodden and weak I fall . . • and then I know 
My pilot on the water does not float. 

Drowned, drowned, dear God ! Ah ! I weep bitter 
tears. 

And cry out madly to the heedless night ! 
Forgotten are my vivid pressing fears, 

A far worse agony my soul must bite. 

Why should I live when one as good as he 
Still holds with steady hands the useless wheel 

Down in the shadows of the lower sea ? — 
Why should I live such agony to feel ? 



Then I am tempted to release my grip 

And sink, and sink beneath the luring swell. 

And from this world of sorrow softly slip, 
And drift to sleep and never say farewell. 

But instinct over-rules this fair desire, 
And still I cling, and still I shout for aid. 

My urging fears my weakened hands inspire — 
I am afraid — ^ah ! I am so afraid ! 

I think how long above the sea I flew 
And knew no barrier in the endless air, 

Until inside my soul a pride there grew 
So powerful and noble was I there. 

But now my element has swiftly changed. 
The bird is fluttering in the waters grim, 

And with its useless feathers disarranged 
Goes, crying, to a destiny most grim. 

Then . . . then ... I hear a voice which shouts 
' Hold on / ' 

And with my strength renewed I clench my hand. 
The dread of certain drowning now has gone — 

There is yet hope. I may once more see land. 

24 



Once more the flowers in the fields of Spring 
May cast their scent before mc as I dream, 

Lulled by the happy thrushes as they sing 
Beside the rippling of a little stream. 

I hear the splendid sound of splashing oars, 
A boat comes up behind me, and I hear 

The soft sweet sound of voices, and it pours 
Like rhapsodies of music on my ears. 

Strong hands come down towards me. I leave go 
The wreck which saved me, and inside the boat 

Sodden and weak I fall . . . and then I know 
My pilot on the water does not float. 

Drowned, drowned, dear God ! Ah ! I weep bitter 
tears, 

And cry out madly to the heedless night ! 
Forgotten are my vivid pressing fears, 

A far worse agony my soul must bite. 

Why should I live when one as good as he 
Still holds with steady hands the useless wheel 

Down in the shadows of the lower sea ? — 
Why should I live such agony to feel ? 



The vision of that awful midnight fades, 
A memory of maddened grief remains, — 

Of useless railing at those bitter raids, 
At War, and all its idle griefs and pains. 

Outside my window now the gay birds sing, 
And o'er the meadows with soft-scented breath 

Goes wandering this quiet dusk of Spring, 
And I forget the night of Fear and Death. 

To 

Capt, F, Ross Johnson, D,S,C., R.A.F. 



26 



THE NIGHT BOMBERS 

Dusk is our dawn, and midnight is our noon ; 
And for the sun we have the silver moon : 
We love the darkness^ and we hate the light ; 
For we are wedded to the gloomy night. 

When in the East the evening stars burn clear 
We know our time of toil is drawing near ; 
For as the evening deepens in the West 
It brings an ending to our day-long rest. 

One after one we slip into the gloom, 
And through the dusk like great cockchafers boom : 
High in the stars you hear our mournful cry, 
As we sail onward through the sapphire sky. 

The twilight shadows welcome in our day : 
The silver dawn will hurry it away. 
The golden stars act as a changeless guide — 
The gloomy skies our wanderings will hide. 

The Rhenish cities hear our throbbing hum, 
And o'er the Belgian coast we go and come. 
From Zeebrugge to Metz our name is cursed, 
At every township where our bombs have burst. 

27 



Then I am tempted to release my grip 

And sink, and sink beneath the luring swell, 

And from this world of sorrow softly slip. 
And drift to sleep and never say farewell. 

But instinct over-rules this fair desire. 
And still 1 cling, and still I shout for aid. 

My urging fears my weakened hands inspire — 
I am afraid — ^ah ! I am so afraid ! 

I think how long above the sea I flew 
And knew no barrier in the endless air. 

Until inside my soul a pride there grew 
So powerful and noble was I there. 

But now my element has swiftly changed. 
The bird is fluttering in the waters grim, 

And with its useless feathers disarranged 
Goes, crying, to a destiny most grim. 

Then . . . then ... I hear a voice which shouts 
' Hold on / ' 

And with my strength renewed I clench my hand. 
The dread of certain drowning now has gone — 

There is yet hope. I may once more see land. 

24 




Once more the flowers in the fields of Spring 
May cast their scent before me as I dream, 

Lulled by the happy thrushes as they sing 
Beside the rippling of a little stream. 

I hear the splendid sound of splashing oars, 
A boat comes up behind me, and I hear 

The soft sweet sound of voices, and it pours 
Like rhapsodies of music on my ears. 

Strong hands come down towards me. I leave go 
The wreck which saved me, and inside the boat 

Sodden and weak 1 fall . . . and then 1 know 
My pilot on the water does not float. 

Drowned, drowned, dear God ! Ah ! I weep bitter 
tears. 

And cry out madly to the heedless night ! 
Forgotten are my vivid pressing fears, 

A far worse agony my soul must bite. 

Why should I live when one as good as he 
Still holds with steady hands the useless wheel 

Down in the shadows of the lower sea ? — 
Why should 1 live such agony to feel ? 



The vision of that awful midnight fades, 
A memory of maddened grief remains, — 

Of useless railing at those bitter raids, 
At War, and all its idle griefs and pains. 

Outside my window now the gay birds sing. 
And o'er the meadows with soft-scented breath 

Goes wandering this quiet dusk of Spring, 
And I forget the night of Fear and Death. 

To 

Capt, F. Ross Johnson, D.S.C, R.A.F, 



26 




THE NIGHT BOMBERS 

Dusk is our dawn, and midnight is our noon ; 
And for the sun we have the silver moon : 
We love the darkness, and we hate the light ; 
For we are wedded to the gloomy night. 

When in the East the evening stars burn clear 
We know our time of toil is drawing near ; 
For as the evening deepens in the West 
It brings an ending to our day-long rest. 

One after one we slip into the gloom, 
And through the dusk like great cockchafers boom : 
High in the stars you hear our mournful cry, 
As we sail onward through the sapphire sky. 

The twilight shadows welcome in our day : 
The silver dawn will hurry it away. 
The golden stars act as a changeless guide — 
The gloomy skies our wanderings will hide. 

The Rhenish cities hear our throbbing hum, 
And o'er the Belgian coast we go and come. 
From Zeebrugge to Metz our name is cursed, 
At every township where our bombs have burst. 

27 



\ * 



The cunning searchlights haunt the midnight skies, 
Where chains of emerald balls of fire rise, 
To mingle with the spark of bursting shells — 
High in the darkness where the bomber dwells ! 

Across whole countries we move to and fro 
As on our restless pilgrimage we go : 
With tanks filled up with petrol and with oil, 
With loaded bomb-racks — ^all the night we toil. 



We know the meaning of the lights which shine 
Upon the world beneath — each is a sign, 
Which tells us of some dim and frightened town, 
Which dreads to hear our bombs fall whistling down : 



Or of some railway junction full of dread 
Whose workers hear us thunder overhead. 
And darken every lamp — ^that we may pass 
And leave no twisted rails and shattered glass, 



We know the meaning of the sudden glare 
Of dazzling light which blossoms in the air. 
For us the green and scarlet rockets blaze 
And whisper urgent secrets through the haze, 

28 




The dials with their phosphorescent face 
Record our passage through the star-lit space ; 
Our height, our speed, the lapse of time is told 
By steady fingers, calculating, cold. 

Above a strange and darkened world we ride 
And over dim mysterious forests glide : 
When we are silent we can move unknown. 
Our only warning is our engines* drone. 

Dusk is our dawiiy and midnight is our noon ; 
And jot the sun we have the silver moon : 
We love the darkness^ and we hate the light ; 
For we are wedded to the gloomy night. 



To 

Lieut, 'Col. Bahington, D,S,0., R.A.F,, 

'Our ao: 



29 



CROSSING THE CHANNEL 

The wings are stretched : the mighty engines roar ; 

And from this sunny land I must depart 
To enter on the unknown realms of War ; 

And so I look around with weary heart, 
For England's skies seem very dear to me — 
I do not know what lies beyond the sea, 

And in my little bed 1 *11 sleep no more. 



My friends are gathered round to say good-bye : 
My bags are packed inside the great machine. 

Eheu ! I must prepare myself to fly 
Surrounded by this old familiar scene. 

Upon each leg I draw a heavy boot, 

And wrap myself inside a fur-lined suit, 
And soon am ready for the windy sky. 



I say farewell and shake each proffered hand, 
And climb inside the throbbing monster's tail. 

And there upon a wooden platform stand 
Whence to my friends I give a final hail. 

The engines roar : we rise on outstretched wing. 

And to the sides with eager hands I cling. 
And see below my sweet departing land. 

E 31 



The vision of that awful midnight fades, 
A memory of maddened grief remains,— 

Of useless railing at those bitter raids, 
At War, and all its idle griefs and pains. 

Outside my window now the gay birds sing, 
And o'er the meadows with soft-scented breath 

Goes wandering this quiet dusk of Spring, 
And I forget the night of Fear and Death. 

To 

Capt, F, Ross Johnson, D,S,C,, R.A.F, 



26 




THE NIGHT BOMBERS 

Dusk is our daum, and midnight is our noon ; 
And for the sun we have the silver moon : 
We love the darkness^ and we hate the light ; 
For we are wedded to the gloomy night. 

When in the East the evening stars burn clear 
We know our time of toil is drawing near ; 
For as the evening deepens in the West 
It brings an ending to our day-long rest. 

One after one we slip into the gloom, 
And through the dusk like great cockchafers boom : 
High in the stars you hear our mournful cry, 
As we sail onward through the sapphire sky. 

The twilight shadows welcome in our day : 
The silver dawn will hurry it away. 
The golden stars act as a changeless guide — 
The gloomy skies our wanderings will hide. 

The Rhenish cities hear our throbbing hum, 
And o'er the Belgian coast we go and come. 
From Zeebrugge to Metz our name is cursed, 
At every township where our bombs have burst. 

27 




There are no flowers in the sky 

Which shyly lurk beneath the grass ; 

You see no cowslip as you fly, 
By no gay buttercups you pass ; 

No waxen chestnut blossoms bloom 

To cast rich fragrance through the gloom. 

When you have flown and once again 
Go walking through the English Spring, 

The hidden secrets of the lane 
WiU not again the old joys bring ; 

Deep in your heart you realise 

It seems unlovely from the skies. 

So do not fly, but be content 
To have a quiet, childish mind, 

Which loves the lilac's heavy scent 
And pleasures in each bud can find. 

Romance your happy days wiU fill 

When Life is hidden by a hill. 

To 

Lieut, L. R, Shoehottom, D,F,C,, R,AS, 



38 



THE SACRIFICE 

He died — ^I know not how — and left 
A splendid English girl bereft 
For ever of his tenderness, 
His gentle word, his soft caress. 
For ever will her life be dead, 
For all its gold is changed to lead. . 
Day after day drags slowly on, 
For all that was most sweet has gone. 
The morning holds no sweet surprise 
To bring a gladness to her eyes. 
The sunshine of her life is set. 
She knows how vain is all regret : 
She knows that all her burning tears 
WiU add no comfort to the years 
Which lie ahead, so grey and cold. 
Alone, alone, must she grow old ; 
Her youth is shattered by the blow ; 
She loved him so — she loved him so ! 
On him was centred all her life ; 
From birth she was his destined 

wife. 
If all the human race had died 
And he alone was by her side, 
Her deep content would be as sweet ; 
If she had him, Life was complete, 

F 39 



And now his soul, so true and brave, 

Awaits the soul for whom he gave 

His life, his joy, his happiness. 

And is distressed at her distress. 

Ah ! He was sacrificed to War, 

And from its shrine can come no more. 

I wonder why God can allow 

Such pain. He died ... I know not how ! 

And I have slain . . . and / have slain 

A soul like his, who ne'er again 

To his fair lover will return. 

The flame of love in vain will burn. 

And sear, and scorch her empty heart, 

And it was / who had to part 

So sweet a friendship, when I killed. 

For ever is his laughter stiUed. 

A lonely sorrow lingers on 

In Posen, Heidelberg, or Bonn. 

Perhaps so bitter was her grief 

That death alone could bring relief. 

And from a river's rushy bank 

Into the friendly flood she sank. 

And floated down the quiet stream 

With eyes in which there was no 

gleam 
Staring beneath her sodden hair — 
Her lips still opened with the prayer 



40 



With which she greeted the release 

From agony, which brought her peace, — 

Which brought her to her loved again 

By whose dear side she will remain 

For ever in that sunlit land 

Where the waiting lovers stand. 

Perhaps this German girl will wait 

For Death, and curse his leisured gait, 

While through the lonely years she sighs 

And sees each day through tear-dimmed eyes. 

Why should he die ? Why should he die ? 

From all the world is borne the cry. 

It is protesting with each breath 

Against the War — ^its endless death, 

Its endless sorrows — endless woes. 

And day by day the protest grows. 

I kill to-day . . . to-morrow I 

In turn may have to bleed and die. 

The dead mourn not, but those who live 

And to their mother-country give 

A soulless life ... a lifeless soul. 

O'er which the dragging decades roll. 

They know the grief, the bitter pain — 

The lovers of the countless slain. 

To Mollie, 



4» 



FLYING AT DUSK 

There is no sun : 

But in the West there glows 

A sea of rose. 

The day is done ; 

And slowly fades in robes of flaming 

light, 
Before the Night. 



Below me lies 

A mist of deepest blue 

Which stains the view 

With sapphire dyes, 

And all the countryside below is kissed 

With dim blue mist. 



Here in the sky, 

I see the day has gone 

And dusk creeps on ; 

And as I fly 

I know that, for the first time, from the 

air. 
The world looks fair. 



43 



Never before 

Has beauty filled my eyes 

From towering skies. 

I never saw 

Earth look romantic from the heights above, 

But Dusk brings Love. 



44 




NOX MORTIS 

The afternoon 

Flutters and dies : 
The fairy moon 
Burns in the skies 
As they grow darker, and the first stars shine 
On Night's rich mantle— purple like warm wine. 

On each white road 

Begins to crawl 
The heavy toad : 
The night-birds call, 
And round the trees the swift bats flit and wheel, 
While from the barns the rats begin to steal. 

So now must I, 

Bird of the night, 
Towards the sky 

Make wheeling flight 
And bear my poison o'er the gloomy land 
And let it loose with hard unsparing hand. 

The chafers boom 

With whirring wings. 
And haunt the gloom 

Which twilight brings — 



45 



> 



So in nocturnal travel do I wail 

As through the night the winged engines sail. 

Death, Grief, and Pain 

Are what I give. 
O that the slain 
Might live — ^might live ! 
I know them not, for I have blindly killed, 
And nameless hearts with nameless sorrow filled. 

Thrice cursed War 

Which bids that I 

Such death should pour 

Down from the sky. 
O, Star of Peace, rise swiftly in the East 
That from such slaying men may be released. 

To 

Lieut, A, C, Pepper ell J R,A,F, 



46 



THE CALL OF THE TWILIGHT 

When the day begins to die 

And I hear the night-birds cry, 
And the West is rich with rose and amber light. 

I hear a quiet voice 

Which makes my heart rejoice : — 
^ Get ready quickly ! We ^ re first off to-night ! ' 



The pale azaleas bloom 

And through the sapphire gloom 

Shine like dim ghosts of soft and dreamy white : 
The night is drawing near 
The whispering call I hear : — 

* Get ready quickly / We ^re first off to-night ! ' 



The cool and languid breeze 

Is laughing in the trees, 
The distant hills are failing on the sight ; 

And all is peace around, 

And yet I hear the sound : — 
* Get ready quickly ! We ^ re first off to-night ! ' 



47 



My days of strife are o'er 
And I must fly no more, 
And from War's turmoil I have gained respite, 
And yet the voice still cries 
Across the darkling skies : — 

* Get ready quickly ! We ^ re first off to-night ! ' 

The red alluring moon 
Is sailing up, and soon 
Will drench the country with its radiance bright ; 
Beneath its gentle glow 
The same soft call I know : — 

* Get ready quickly ! We ^ re first off to-night ! ' 

Each twilight is the same ; 
No lapse of time can tame 
The subtle longing for the shadowy flight. 
The lucent evening star 
Cries to me from afar : — 

* Get ready quickly ! We '^ re first off to-night ! ' 

To 

Lieut. F. H, Hudson, R,A,F, 



48 



I 
t 



SEARCHLIGHTS 

You who have seen across the star-decked skies 

The long white arms of searchlights slowly sweep, 

Have you imagined what it is to creep 

High in the darkness, cold and terror-wise. 

For ever looked for by those cruel eyes 

Which search with far-flung beams the shadowy deep 

And near the wings unending vigil keep 

To haunt the lonely airman as he flies ? 

Have you imagined what it is to know 

That if one finds you all their fierce desire 

To see you fall will dog you as you go, 

High in a sea of light and bursting fire, 

Like some small bird, Ut up and bUnding white 

Which slowly moves across the shell-torn night ? 



49 



/^ 



CROSSING THE LINES 

Below, one after one, the great lights rise, 
Bloom for a moment, droop and fade away. 
There are no trenches here to bar my way, 
There is no barrier in the endless skies. 
Although, beneath, a rigid frontier lies 
Which none may pass and live — yet does not stay 
My evenn flight, as I sail on to slay 
Or die myself — with none to sympathise. 

Ah ! It is sad to leave the lines behind — 
To know that over lands of bitter hate 
I have to fly, where every eager mind 
Has one desire — wishes me one fate. 
Like sentinels of light the searchlights stand 
To guard the frontiers of the hostile land. 



51 



/^ 



THE STARS 

Before I climb above the shadowy land 

Borne on my winged ship, I often gaze 

Upon the dim blue sky whose shadowy ways 

Are strewn with stars like flowers. Ah ! how grand 

Seems all that mighty host ! With ready hand 

Orion holds his sword, which is ablaze 

With twinkling gems, and in that glittering maze 

I love to see the mighty warrior stand. 

I feel the stars protect me as I fly 

Upon my lonely voyage through the night. 

Dear quiet guardians of the midnight sky, 

Which gaze upon the world with eyes of light ! 

With you above my head all will be well, 

For somewhere near your radiance God must dwell. 



53 



/^ 



THE CHANGED WORLD 

He who has knelt high on the night and seen 

The glow of Brussels, Antwerp, and Malines : 

And o'er Ostend, Zeebrugge, Bruges and Ghent 

The searchlights moving in the firmament : 

He who has seen beside the Scheldt's wide stream 

The lights of Flushing and Terneuzen gleam 

Beneath the moonlit glory of the night : 

He who has seen all this before his sight 

In one wide sweep — ^from Brussels to the coast — 

Will lose his mind's perspective. Every boast 

Which man may make \dll seem so childish, vain. 

That he himself will never boast again. 

For men will seem so small, their work so frail 

To him who has been often wont to sail 

Where half a country lay before his eyes 

As he gazed downwards from the midnight skies. 



55 



r\ 



To 



A NIGHT HVTMN 

(JVfitUn in the air sixty miles beyond 

the German lines) 

Above the hostile lands I fly, 

And know, O Lord, that TTiou art nigh : 

And with Thy ever-loving care 

Dost bear me safely through the air. 

Thou madest the twinkling Polar star, 
Which guides me homewards from afar ; 
And Thou hast made my greatest boon. 
The radiant visage of the Moon. 

And if I did not love Thee, Lord, 
I could not sit here reassured 
With level mind, and soul at ease, 
Amidst the cool, refreshing breeze. 



Major K G. Brackley, D.S.O., D.S.C, R.A,F. 



57 



^ 



THE VICTORS OF THE AIR 

Hail to the youth of England, they who dare 
To mock War and its dangers in the air ; 
From dawn to dusk they flash their pinions white, 
From dusk to dawn they haunt the restless night ! 
Hail to the soaring eagles of our race ! 
Wanderers in the endless fields of space ! 

Far from the earth, alone, alone, they go 
Towards the shell-swept frontiers of the foe. 
No one to help them if they faint or fall ; 
No one to hear them if for aid they call ! 
No friendly face to cheer — no hand to bless ! 
Lone voyagers in utter loneliness ! 

Hail to the youth of England, they who dare 
To face the endless perils of the air ! 
They fight that soon the shouts of War may cease 
And o'er the world will brood the wings of Peace ; 
Then through the clouds will England's glory rise 
Uplifted by the heroes of the skies ! 



59 



n 



TO ROY ALLAN 

Died nib April at sea 

Dear Roy ! who saved my life and lost your own 
In that dark dreadful night above the sea 
When you talked reassuringly to me 
As we sailed lower — though you must have known 
How great our danger was . . . then I was thrown 
Swiftly into the water, whirling, free . . . 
One thud of pain — a sudden agony — 
And I came up . . • and found I was alone. 

O how I cursed with madness when I knew 
That you were dead beneath that wat'ry floor ! 
O how I wished that I, instead of you. 
Had been ordained to return no more. 
God must have been rejoiced to take your hand 
And have so good a soul to grace His land. 



6i 



^ 



TO VICTORIA STATION 

O GREAT cathedral of a thousand prayers, 

A thousand hopes, a thousand voiceless fears — 

O mighty witness of a thousand tears, 

Sad mother of a brood of bitter cares, 

Thou art a silent preacher who declares 

To those who weep — ^ There is a God which hears 

Your heart-said pleas with sympathetic ears — 

There is — ^there is — there is a God which spares ! ' 

Towards dim vaulted roofs the steam-clouds rise 

Like incense smoke which drifts before a shrine : 

And deep behind the countless watchers' eyes 

There glows the quiet faith which is divine. 

One after one the loaded trains depart, 

And empty streets wiU greet each empty heart. 



63 



o 



THE NURSES OF ENGLAND 

When God allowed the awfiil curse of War 

To overrun the world with rotting blight, 

Until it seemed that it was ever Night, 

And Day, sweet golden Day, would shine no more ; 

His radiant Presence soon began to pour 

Down through the shadows, making darkness 

bright. 
And then there fell one beam of dazzling light 
Which shone on Love, where there was Grief before* 

For in that ray of light some women stood. 
And they were Nurses — ^angels of the earth — 
With gentle fingers ever doing good. 
Kind, sympathetic, dear, beyond all worth : 
Soothing with patient hands each weary head : 
Bringing, like God, sweet Peace to every bed. 

To 

Miss Holroyde, 

Matron of the Eatofi Square Hospital, 



6s 



DUNQUERQUE 

There is a little town whose walls can show 
A thousand deep and ragged wounds, which teU 
Of all their suflFerings from bomb and shell, 
Of all the anger of a jealous foe 
Who knows so well, and is enraged to know 
That in its houses do not fear to dwell 
Its citizens, who love, and buy, and sell, 
And still upon their daily business go. 

Night after night the mournful syrens wail 

To give a needless warning to the town. 

Night after night in an unending hail 

The rain of whistling bombs comes pouring down, 

And Dunquerque, master of an iron will. 

For all its woes lives on, a city still ! 



67 



r\ 



NIEUPORT 

Beside the road stand tattered canvas screens 
To hide its secrets from the prying eyes 
Of every peering enemy who spies, 
Hid in the sand-dunes : here a dead tree leans 
Against its neighbour, and each sea-wind gleans 
Fresh store of withered leaves. A great shell sighs 
Behind the woods . . . roars out ... its clamour dies, 
And silence soothes this safldest of all scenes. 

The streets are empty and the houses dead. 
Where houses stand, for now but few remain 
Whose yawning roofs show how this town has bled 
And suffered years of ever-growing pain. 
O Nieuport, you are noble in distress, 
Although your life must be all bitterness. 



69 



A 



THE REAL LOVE 

O JUDGE me not by flight-inspired verse ! 
It is a farthing found inside my purse, 
Whose azure silk is filled with magic gold, 
Which can ten thousand magic tales unfold : — 
Tales of my love for dawn and dusk and noon : 
Tales of my singing to the amber moon : 
Tales of my thoughts beside the lovely 

Thames, 
In which the stars throw silver diadems : 
Tales of my tears of joy when I have seen 
The London plane-trees wave their sunlit green 
Tales of my kisses soft, unseen, unknown 
Upon a London wall of smoky stone : 
Tales of the happy wanderings I have made 
Down many a shaded, dim, enchanted glade 
In Kensington, whose gardens old and still 
My soul with longings, rich and sad, can fill. 
O how I long for days of glowing health, 
When I can see once more my London wealth, 
And travel down once more in May to Kew, 
And lose myself in each soft dreamy view 
Of mighty trees and lawns and fiery flowers, 
And spend in peace a day of drowsy hours ! 
When I can walk at dusk down empty streets 
In whose grey loneliness no footfall beats, 

K 71 



And see, above, the last pale light of day 
Towards the West go wandering away, 
As, one by one, the qvdet lamps bum clear 
And show that velvet Night is very near, 
And soon with sapphire draperies will hide 
The qvdet dreaming town, which is my bride. 
For I am wed to London ! All my days 
Have passed amidst the tender azure haze 
Which veils the streets from morn to lingering 

eve, 
Wliose gossamer has some strange frame to weave 
A gorgeous tapestry from miles and miles 
Of chimney pots, and factories, and tiles. 
And clouds of smoke, and slim and dreamy spires 
And roofs linked up by webs of clustering wires. 
O wondrous haze of azure-ashen hue 
Which lends a subtle magic to the view, 
Thou art the bridal veil which drapes my love, — 
My darling London, — and the moon above 
When it is risen like a glowing plum 
Above the roofs, above the muffled hum 
Of evening traffic drifting to decay 
Which chants its Nunc Dimittis to the day ! 
O chains and chains of golden lamps which throw 
Upon the polished road your quiet glow, 
You are the altar lamps which bum so still 
Upon my bride, and her fair beauty fill 

72 




With lights and shadows, gleams of golden glare 

Which make a richer glitter on her hair ! 

And then a soft and silver radiance lies 

Upon her robe from out the starry skies 

As through the clouds the climbing moon looks down 

Upon the sleeping silence of the town . . . 

So for ten thousand pages could I tell 

The dreams which on my heart's enchantment 

dwell ; 
But in these words you see but tarnished gold, 
And silver dim and dull, as I enfold 
The speechless riches of my azure purse 
In halting lines of poor unworthy verse. 

To 

G. A. Sinclair Hill. 



73 



FORGETFULNESS 

Over the fields the last birds sing 
And the West is rose and grey. 

Soft is this lingering dusk of Spring 
In the heart of fragrant May. 

The note of the cuckoo still rings clear, 

And France is forgotten for England is here. 

Cool is the breeze which kisses me 
And whispers on through the grass ; 

Life is of gold when days are free 
And the hours gently pass, 

Untouched by the shadow of any fear. 

And France is forgotten for England is here. 

Now as I lean on a stack of straw 
This Peace is almost too sweet. 

Far from the ceaseless noise of War 
My happiness is complete. 

The peace of the twilight is so dear — 

And France is forgotten for England is here. 

C HAL FORT, St. Giles. 



75 



r\ 



BACK IN LONDON 

Better by far to glide 

By walls of sun-kissed stone — 

To see the shadows thrown 

Half-way across the street 

Which shimmers warm and wide 

Before my eyes, complete, 

With lamp-posts painted green. 

And trees whose new-born leaves 

Are lit with golden sheen. 

For London beauty weaves 

Soft dreamings through my brain, 

And I forget the tears. 

The terror and the pain. 

At each fresh turn appears 

Some unforgotten view 

Where once more I renew 

Acquaintances of old 

When Life was all of gold. 

Better by far to glide 

Down some grey dreamy road 

Than clamour through the sky 

Where countless shells explode 

Harshly on either side. • . . 



11 



/n 



THE THREE LOVES 

There are three things I love far more than all : 
The quiet hour of dusk, when all is blue, 
And trees and streets and roofs have one frail hue : 
Sublime October, when the red leaves fall, 
And bronze chrysanthemums along the wall 
Burn bravely when the other flowers are few : 
My grey and lovely London, where the view 
Is veiled in mist and crowned with spires tall. 

Each of those things with all my soul I love, 

But when I have them all before my eyes 

In one rich moment — ^when I see above 

The London spires on October skies, 

Which deepen in the dusk — ^my heart grows weak 

To see such beauty, and I cannot speak. 

Paddington to Kensington. 
June 1918. 



79 



MACABRE 

In a dead garden 
Buried in London 
Late in the Autumn 
Dances a Satyr. 
Round him are falling 
Red leaves like blood-drops. 
Silently, slowly. 
Wild is the music ; 
Wilder the Piper — 
Pan in the roof-tops 
Fiendishly laughing 
Leers at the Satyr 
In the dead garden 
Buried in London 
Late in the Autumn. 



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Printed ir Great Britain by T. and A. Constablk, Printers to His Majesty 

at the Edinburgh University Press 



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