By Charles Buxton Going

How close the white-ranked crosses stand
Beneath the flag which seems to be
A soaring, hovering glory-cloud
On lily fields of Calvary!
Ours, ours they are—
Those dead, dead knights who won the golden star
On far French hills, here in our churchyards lying,
Or in war’s wildest wreckage—yet unfound
In those torn, piteous fields which they, in dying,
Have for us all forever sanctified.
We can not hallow more than holy ground;
All glory we would give them, pales beside
The eternal splendor of those men, who thought
But of the sacred cause for which they fought.
And now, the battles done,
They who gave all, ’tis they alone who won.
In their great faith there was no dark misgiving;
They saw no base self-seekers don the mask
Of high ideals, to batten on the living.
Their vision was a world secure and just
Won by their victory—their only task
To crush one hideous foe; and in that trust
They sped with eager feet, and paid the price
Unstinting, of the last great sacrifice.
That faith they hold.
The peace for which they battled was pure gold,
And in their splendid zeal they died unshaken.
Knowing such sacred beauty fills their sleep,
Shall we yet mourn, or wish they might awaken
To find the golden peace so far debased?
Should we not rather pray that they may keep
Their shining vision spotless, undefaced,
Until the world, repentant and redeemed,
Grow to the measure of the one they dreamed?
So let them rest.
They gave for us their dearest and their best;
They keep the holiest. Yet for their giving
Our fittest tribute is not grief and tears,
But the same ardent vision in our living
As that which shone, compelling, in their eyes
Uncowed by death and all his dreadful fears.
Then, when at last these glorious dreamers rise,
The world we keep for them might almost seem
The living substance of their lofty dream!
How white the crosses—white and small!
With what proud love the Flag appears
To mother them! And then it all
Is blurred by the insistent tears!

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