Verse > Anthologies > George Herbert Clarke, ed. > A Treasury of War Poetry
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George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953).  A Treasury of War Poetry.  1917.
 
134. Kitchener
 
By John Helston
 
 
THERE is wild water from the north;
The headlands darken in their foam
As with a threat of challenge stubborn earth
Booms at that far wild sea-line charging home.
 
The night shall stand upon the shifting sea        5
As yesternight stood there,
And hear the cry of waters through the air,
The iron voice of headlands start and rise—
The noise of winds for mastery
That screams to hear the thunder in those cries.        10
But now henceforth there shall be heard
From Brough of Bursay, Marwick Head,
And shadows of the distant coast,
Another voice bestirred—
Telling of something greatly lost        15
Somewhere below the tidal glooms, and dead.
Beyond the uttermost
Of aught the night may hear on any seas
From tempest-known wild water’s cry, and roar
Of iron shadows looming from the shore,        20
It shall be heard—and when the Orcades
Sleep in a hushed Atlantic’s starry folds
As smoothly as, far down below the tides,
Sleep on the windless broad sea-wolds
Where this night’s shipwreck hides.        25
 
By many a sea-holm where the shock
Of ocean’s battle falls, and into spray
Gives up its ghosts of strife; by reef and rock
Ravaged by their eternal brute affray
With monstrous frenzies of their shore’s green foe;        30
Where overstream and overfall and undertow
Strive, snatch away;
A wistful voice, without a sound,
Shall dwell beside Pomona, on the sea,
And speak the homeward- and the outward-bound,        35
And touch the helm of passing minds
And bid them steer as wistfully—
Saying: “He did great work, until the winds
And waters hereabout that night betrayed
Him to the drifting death! His work went on—        40
He would not be gainsaid….
Though where his bones are, no man knows, not one!”
 

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