Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BACKGROUND GROUP, by RICHARD EUGENE BURTON

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THE BACKGROUND GROUP, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The crowd huzzas, the music madly plays
Last Line: The children orphaned at the mouths of guns.
Subject(s): Death; Flowers; Heroism; Life; Dead, The; Heroes; Heroines

THE crowd huzzas, the music madly plays;
'Tis meet, for lo! it is the day of days --
The home-returning heroes come: a cry
Of welcome should be lifted to the sky
And flowers strew the people-trampled ways.

The drums beat martially; with rhythmic beat
The steps resound along the gaping street.
Hark, what acclaim! And how the folk do press
To see, to briefly touch, the very dress
Of those who dared the death, when Life is sweet!

But stay! where joy is general, where the sound
Of jubilant voices rends the air around,
Why is one group so silent in its place,
With war's impassioned image face to face?
Wherefore those eyes cast nunlike on the ground?

Who are these hangers-back, these dark-robed ones?
They are the mothers who are reft of sons;
The wives whose dearest lie all uncaressed
Afar, with vital stains on brow or breast;
The children orphaned at the mouths of guns.

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