Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SILENCE, by VIRGINIA BIDDLE



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SILENCE, by            
First Line: The battle raged with hellish spite
Last Line: Where men had fallen like summer rain.
Subject(s): Silence; World War I; First World War


The battle raged with hellish spite,
And good men fell like rain that night.
The morning stars came on a-pace
And stared into each staring face.
Tearing its way the wild shell screamed;
-- But quietly the Fallen dreamed.
"It is the shining April rain
Singing to us," said the Slain.
"The rustling poplars stir and sigh
Like mothers crooning hush-a-bye.
Happy candle lights appear
In every cottage far and near.
The supper things are laid away
And round the hearth the children play."
The Red Cross Men stole on the field
To find the gruesome harvest's yield.
They bore the wounded back from hell:
-- "Somebody comes," said Those Who Fell.
And each one thought within his breast,
"It is the one that I loved best.
She kneels down softly by my side,
And weeps to think that I have died.
I wish that I could smooth her cheek,
For she is bowed and sad and meek.
But it is sweet to have her come
Though I must lie here cold and dumb.
She puts my head upon her breast
And prays for my eternal rest."
After the sick September noon
The evening brought the waning moon.
Soft veils she wove around each head.
-- "It is an angel," dreamed the Dead.
"We cannot think what way we died,
But Christ we know was crucified.
And for His sake we have release,
God gives good soldiers death and peace.
We shall march up before His tent
All in a shining regiment.
And He will smile on us and say,
'My soldiers have done well today.'
For Heaven has a simple grace
Where folks are kind and commonplace.
It is not proud and grand and far,
But like our homes before the war."
Peace lay upon the shattered plain
Where men had fallen like summer rain.





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