Dawn takes the everlasting skies
And shoulders out the stars, and eyes
Of night are closed, and dreaming
The sunbeams gallop gleaming
Up the wings of the morning. Light
Has set upon the hills its white
And beautiful wonder. There is peace
Among a thousand silences;
Here lie the dead.
Above the trees
The winds pace in the clouds, and dew
Is dripping over the edges of the blue
From off the eaves of Heaven. Deep
Are the woodland shadows where they sleep
Against the lily and the rose;
And fair is the meadow white where blows
The star flower. Love has found
The shadows that lie underneath the ground,
The great who shook the world.
Where war was red
A hill tips to the French sky with its dead;
A slope of crosses, marching silver stairs,
Walks up to heaven as in snowy pairs
To step off in the blue space overhead,
As though their souls sought heaven and would fly.
They hear the sweet high voice of the sky
Sing the west wind, and the golden mirth
Of soft rain when young April with a cry
Puts its great heart downward to the earth.
Light runs around the world and whitely stands
In columns over many lands,
But not upon more nations than lie here
The gathered races sleeping. Now more dear,
Day flashes up astonished skies
And night has gone down them into the west
To sleep and ponder and to seek the rest
That might have been for those who have no eyes
But who lie silent.
So strange and wise,
Here, Laughter, combs back her radiant hair,
And Love has tossed her music high. Fair
Beauty dreams still near, but what to these
Is all the wonder of eternities?
For they know not and think but less
Lost in their darkling wilderness.
The wild wind is their only song, the grass
Their only home and happiness;
The falling rain their only tears,
The night their only dreams and fears,
And they lie locked within the years,
The darkness, their only light to see,
Their one time, all eternity.
The silver history of the dew
Has whispered to the rose their tale;
The sunlight murmured it to all the blue
In sweet songs of the nightingale;
The dawn now takes it up the sky on wings
And in the song of every bird it sings,
The dead, the dead--gone on their wanderings.
Peace, let them sleep. They love us. We love them.
It is enough that they have fought and died.
Their glory is their monument above them.
They are at peace and satisfied.
Yes, they know all; while we have yet to learn
The music of the darkness. They are clouds
Blown in the waters of the wind. Their crowds
Are starlight where the wings of morning burn
To pour upon them gold. They lie in shrouds
Who in the night can nevermore return.
Blessed be the dead who stood not on their going
But walked into the shadows with a jest;
To God our thanks that manhood's rose was blowing
And with men marched the flower of the West.
Love lives and grows the fairer. Life they gave
Will never perish. Peace was theirs and spring
And they are summertime in autumn's grave,
Young marvelously with beauty flowering
And God among them, and the miracle
Of all they lost regained. They sleep to tell
No other story than the world they won. The bell
Peals slowly to them now, farewell, farewell.