"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.