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.
 
42. Verdun
 
By Eden Phillpotts
 
 
THREE hundred thousand men, but not enough
To break this township on a winding stream;
More yet must fall, and more, ere the red stuff
That built a nation’s manhood may redeem
The Master’s hopes and realize his dream.        5
 
They pave the way to Verdun; on their dust
The Hohenzollerns mount and, hand in hand,
Gaze haggard south; for yet another thrust
And higher hills must heap, ere they may stand
To feed their eyes upon the promised land.        10
 
One barrow, borne of women, lifts them high,
Built up of many a thousand human dead.
Nursed on their mothers’ bosoms, now they lie—
A Golgotha, all shattered, torn and sped,
A mountain for these royal feet to tread.        15
 
A Golgotha, upon whose carrion clay
Justice of myriad men still in the womb
Shall heave two crosses; crucify and flay
Two memories accurs’d; then in the tomb
Of world-wide execration give them room.        20
 
Verdun! A clarion thy name shall ring
Adown the ages and the Nations see
Thy monuments of glory. Now we bring
Thank-offering and bend the reverent knee,
Thou star upon the crown of Liberty!        25
 

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