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.
 
90. Fulfilment
 
By Robert Nichols
 
 
WAS there love once? I have forgotten her.
Was there grief once? Grief yet is mine.
Other loves I have, men rough, but men who stir
More grief, more joy, than love of thee and thine.
 
Faces cheerful, full of whimsical mirth,        5
Lined by the wind, burned by the sun;
Bodies enraptured by the abounding earth,
As whose children we are brethren: one.
 
And any moment may descend hot death
To shatter limbs! Pulp, tear, blast        10
Beloved soldiers who love rough, life and breath
Not less for dying faithful to the last.
 
O the fading eyes, the grimed face turned bony,
Oped mouth gushing, fallen head,
Lessening pressure of a hand, shrunk, clammed and stony!        15
O sudden spasm, release of the dead!
 
Was there love once? I have forgotten her.
Was there grief once? Grief yet is mine.
O loved, living, dying, heroic soldier,
All, all my joy, my grief, my love, are thine.        20
 

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