Verse > Anthologies > Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. > The Second Book of Modern Verse
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Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. (1869–1948).  The Second Book of Modern Verse.  1922.
 
April on the Battlefields
 
Leonora Speyer
 
 
APRIL now walks the fields again,
Trailing her tearful leaves
And holding all her frightened buds against her heart:
Wrapt in her clouds and mists,
She walks,        5
Groping her way among the graves of men.
 
The green of earth is differently green,
A dreadful knowledge trembles in the grass,
And little wide-eyed flowers die too soon:
There is a stillness here—        10
After a terror of all raving sounds—
And birds sit close for comfort upon the boughs
Of broken trees.
 
April, thou grief!
What of thy sun and glad, high wind,        15
Thy valiant hills and woods and eager brooks,
Thy thousand-petalled hopes?
The sky forbids thee sorrow, April!
And yet—
I see thee walking listlessly        20
Across those scars that once were joyous sod,
Those graves,
Those stepping-stones from life to life.
 
Death is an interruption between two heart-beats,
That I know—        25
Yet know not how I know—
But April mourns,
Trailing her tender green,
The passion of her green,
Across the passion of those fearful fields.        30
 
Yes, all the fields!
No barrier here,
No challenge in the night,
No stranger-land;
She passes with her perfect countersign,        35
Her green;
She wanders in her mournful garden,
Dropping her buds like tears,
Spreading her lovely grief upon the graves of man.
 

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