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Emory Women Writers Resource Project

The Fiery Cross: An Anthology of War Poems, an electronic edition

by Mabel C. Edwards and Mary Booth, eds. [Edwards, Mabel C. and Booth, Mary]

date: [1915]
source publisher: [Grant Richards Ltd.]
collections: World War I, Early 20th Century Literature

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[92]

Lay your Head on the Earth's Breast

"Have you heard the earth crying?" said Vassily Vassilitch.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Why," said he, "I've heard her crying as I lay in the grass with my ear to the ground. I heard her. Like this, oo-m, oo-m, oo-m. It was the time the soldiers were being mobilised and women were sobbing in every cottage and in every turning of the road, so it may only have been that I heard. But it seemed to me the earth herself was crying, so gently, so sadly that my own heart ached."--STEPHEN GRAHAM.

LAY your head on the Earth's breast and you will hear her crying,
Sobbing, softly, hopelessly, for her sons who are dead and dying.

Splendid and gay they are marching still to the music of bugle and band,
Bravest and best of my beautiful sons they are going from every land.

Are there none who will stay of all my sons? Must you all go?
Yes; all that you love, the pride of your eyes, Mother, you'd have it so.

Mangled and torn they lie in heaps, broken, dying and dead.
O scarlet blood of my splendid sons, you have dyed my green fields red.


[93]

What can I do for you, O my sons? My last, last gift is small,
A few poor sods to cover your heads and a scatter of snow o'er all.

Lay your head on the Earth's breast and you will hear her crying,
Grieving, softly, hopelessly, for her sons who are dead and dying.



Country Life.
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