"WHEN I was a child," You shall tell one day, Children, on these blackened fields Gallantly at play, "All the quiet sky Burst in death aflame; One day, I was young, Then . . . The Horror came." "When I was a child . . ." Wind-tossed leaves of war, Is there childhood still for you, Wise in horror-lore, Who have heard your sisters' screams Shattering your play, Seen your mothers past their dead Led to shame away? Ragged, helpless, maimed, Hungry, left alone Where the smoking roof-beams lie By the wrecked hearth-stone, Still you mime (child-hearts are strong, Childhood pain is brief) Echoes of world-victory, World-defeat, world-grief! Dauntless in your rags, Insolent in mirth, Laughing with young lips that know All the griefs of earth, God, who loves a high heart well, Will not let you fail– You are France, who laughs at Hell– France, who shall prevail!
You may also enjoy reading our collection of WWI Poetry.
Return to the Margaret Widdemer library , or . . . Read the next poem; Swan-Child