The hundredth anniversary of the First World War brought to mind a volume of poetry I had found years ago, The Men Who March Away, which fortunately is still in print. The poets were from the United Kingdom, many of whom died during the war.
One of the most poignant for me was written by Isaac Rosenberg, who was killed in action in France, April 1918.
This is the last two stanzas from “Returning, We Hear the Larks”
But hark! joy—joy—strange joy.
Lo! heights of night ringing with unseen larks.
Music showering on our upturned list’ning faces.
Death could drop from the dark
As easily as song—
But song only dropped,
Like a blind man’s dreams on the land
By dangerous tides,
Like a girl’s dark hair for she dreams no ruin lies there,
Or her kisses where a serpent hides.
Men Who March Away, poems of the First World War, an anthology edited by I.M. Parsons, Penguin Books.