Memorial Day


Memorial Day was published in Kilmer's collection, Trees and Other Poems (1914).
Memorial Day
George Matthews Harding, US Army artist, Village of Marne, 1918
THE bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
⁠Of men-at-arms who come to pray.

The roses blossom white and red
⁠On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
⁠And martial music cleaves the sky.

Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
⁠They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
⁠They plunged for Freedom and the Right.

May we, their grateful children, learn
⁠Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
⁠At last the accolade of God.

In shining rank on rank arrayed
⁠They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
⁠The Prince of Peace . . . 
Who brought a sword.

Memorial Day was featured as The Short Story of the Day on Sat, May 28, 2022

You may also enjoy our collection of World War I Literature.


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Return to the Joyce Kilmer library , or . . . Read the next poem; Prayer of a Soldier in France

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