Verse > Anthologies > Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. > The Second Book of Modern Verse
See also: Joyce Kilmer Biography
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Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. (1869–1948).  The Second Book of Modern Verse.  1922.
 
Prayer of a Soldier in France
 
Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918)
 
 
MY shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).
 
I march with feet that burn and smart
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).
 
Men shout at me who may not speak        5
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).
 
I may not lift a hand to clear
My eyes of salty drops that sear.
 
(Then shall my fickle soul forget
Thy Agony of Bloody Sweat?)        10
 
My rifle hand is stiff and numb
(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).
 
Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.
 
So let me render back again        15
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.
 

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