Author of "The Spell of the Yukon," "The
Ballads of a Cheechako," "Rhymes
of a Rolling Stone," etc.

NEW YORK
BARSE & HOPKINS
PUBLISHERS
1916

 

To the Memory of

MY BROTHER,

LIEUTENANT ALBERT SERVICE
CANADIAN INFANTRY

KILLED IN ACTION. FRANCE

August, 1916.

 

CONTENTS

 FOREWORD
 THE CALL
 THE FOOL
 THE VOLUNTEER
 THE CONVALESCENT
 THE MAN FROM ATHABASKA
 THE RED RETREAT
 THE HAGGIS OF PRIVATE MCPHEE
 THE LARK
 THE ODYSSEY OF 'ERBERT 'IGGINS
 A SONG OF WINTER WEATHER
 TIPPERARY DAYS
 FLEURETTE
 FUNK
 OUR HERO
 MY MATE
 MILKING TIME
 YOUNG FELLOW, MY LAD

 A SONG OF THE SANDBAGS
 ON THE WIRE
 BILL'S GRAVE
 JEAN DESPREZ
 GOING HOME
 COCOTTE
 MY BAY'NIT
 CARRY ON!
 OVER THE PARAPET
 THE BALLAD OF SOULFUL SAM
 ONLY A BOCHE
 PILGRIMS
 MY PRISONER
 TRI-COLOUR.
 A POT OF TEA
 THE REVELATION
 GRAND-PÈRE
 SON
 THE BLACK DUDEEN

 THE LITTLE PIOU-PIOU
 BILL THE BOMBER
 THE WHISTLE OF SANDY McGRAW
 THE STRETCHER-BEARER
 WOUNDED
 FAITH
 THE COWARD
 MISSIS MORIARTY'S BOY
 MY FOE
 MY JOB
 THE SONG OF THE PACIFIST
 THE TWINS
 THE SONG OF THE SOLDIER-BORN
 AFTERNOON TEA
 THE MOURNERS
 L'ENVOI

 

FOREWORD

I've tinkered at my bits of rhymes
In weary, woeful, waiting times;
In doleful, hours of battle-din,
Ere yet they brought the wounded in;
Through vigils of the fateful night,
In lousy barns by candle-light;
In dug-outs, sagging and aflood,
On stretchers stiff and bleared with blood;
By ragged grove, by ruined road,
By hearths accurst where Love abode;
By broken altars, blackened shrines
I've tinkered at my bits of rhymes.

I've solaced me with scraps of song
The desolated ways along:
Through sickly fields all shrapnel-sown,
And meadows reaped by death alone;
By blazing cross and splintered spire,
By headless Virgin in the mire;
By gardens gashed amid their bloom,
By gutted grave, by shattered tomb;
Beside the dying and the dead,
Where rocket green and rocket red,
In trembling pools of poising light,
With flowers of flame festoon the night.
Ah me! by what dark ways of wrong
I've cheered my heart with scraps of song.

So here's my sheaf of war-won verse,
And some is bad, and some is worse.
And if at times I curse a bit,
You needn't read that part of it;
For through it all like horror runs
The red resentment of the guns.
And you yourself would mutter when
You took the things that once were men,
And sped them through that zone of hate
To where the dripping surgeons wait;
And wonder too if in God's sight
War ever, ever can be right.

Yet may it not be, crime and war
But effort misdirected are?
And if there's good in war and crime,
There may be in my bits of rhyme,
My songs from out the slaughter mill:
So take or leave them as you will.


Poems