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.
 
20. The Soul of Jeanne d’Arc
 
By Theodosia Garrison
 
 
She came not into the Presence as a martyred saint might come,
Crowned, white-robed and adoring, with very reverence dumb,—
She stood as a straight young soldier, confident, gallant, strong,
Who asks a boon of hit captain in the sudden hush of the drum.
 
She said: “Now have I stayed too long in this my place of bliss,        5
With these glad dead that, comforted, forget what sorrow is
Upon that world whose stony stairs they climbed to come to this.
 
“But lo, a cry hath torn the peace wherein so long I stayed,
Like a trumpet’s call at Heaven’s wall from a herald unafraid,—
A million voices in one cry, ‘Where is the Maid, the Maid?’        10
 
“I had forgot from too much joy that olden task of mine,
But I have heard a certain word shatter the chant divine,
Have watched a banner glow and grow before mine eyes for sign.
 
“I would return to that my land flung in the teeth of war,
I would cast down my robe and crown that pleasure me no more,        15
And don the armor that I knew, the valiant sword I bore.
 
“And angels militant shall fling the gates of Heaven wide,
And souls new-dead whose lives were shed like leaves on war’s red tide
Shall cross their swords above our heads and cheer us as we ride.
 
“For with me goes that soldier saint, Saint Michael of the sword,        20
And I shall ride on his right side, a page beside his lord,
And men shall follow like swift blades to reap a sure reward.
 
“Grant that I answer this my call, yea, though the end may be
The naked shame, the biting flame, the last, long agony;
I would go singing down that road where fagots wait for me.        25
 
“Mine be the fire about my feet, the smoke above my head;
So might I glow, a torch to show the path my heroes tread;
My Captain! Oh, my Captain, let me go back!” she said.
 

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