Benedicamus Domino – Summer 1916

All beneath a shining sky
Yellow fields are harvested:
Deep in grass the apples lie,
Sunshine sweetened, cool and red.
For the Father of the Poor
Sets His watch with flaming sword
High shove the threshing floor
Thanks be unto Thee, O LORD.

In the twilight meadows now
Trail the white September mists;
Damsons, heavy on the bough,
Gleam like shadowed amethysts.
Fiercely sweet are days like these,
Wrapt in peace and yellow suns.
While across the narrow seas
Sounds the drumming of the guns.

These are things that have not been
In our long prosperity
Beauty passionately seen
When it stands in jeopardy;
Vivid love that grips the breath,
Tears that break for very pride.
Life through violence and death-
LORD, for these be glorified.

For the proudly guarded lips,
Streets where men nor strive nor cry;
For the armies and the ships,
Youth and laughing chivalry;
For the things that shall be won
Clean and splendid from the flame
For the brave new life begun-
Blessed be Thy holy Name.

We have sinned the sins of peace;
Called to serve, we have not served;
Such a war for righteousness
We desired not nor deserved.
We are glad for this,- that life
Caught us like a hurricane,
Slashed the walls with quivering knife,
Tore a space for sight again.

They shall see that shall be born
That remote resplendent thing,
Of the which, for spent and torn,
All the world is travailing
Lift your hearts above the years,
Thank our LORD not once nor twice
For the horror and the tears,
Bitterness and sacrifice.

September, 1916.