‘Hello, Soldier!’

The One at Home

Edward Dyson

DON told me that he loved me dear
    Where down the range Whioola pours;
And when I laughed and would not hear
    He flung away to fight the wars.
He flung away—how should he know
My foolish heart was dancin’ so?
How should he know that at his word
My soul was trillin’ like a bird?

He went out in the cannon smoke.
    He did not seek to ask me why.
Again each day my poor heart broke
    To see the careless post go by.
I cared not for their Emperors—
For me there was this in the wars;
My brown boy in the shell-clouds dim,
And savage devils killin’ him!

They told me on the field he fell,
    And far they bore him from the fight,
But he is whole—he will be well
    Now in a ward by day and night
A fair, tall nurse with slim, neat hands
By his white bedside smilin’ stands;
His brow with trailin fingertips
She soothes, and damps his fevered lips!

I know her not, but I can see
    How blue her great eyes are, and hear
The cooin’ of her voice as she
    Speaks gentle comfort to my dear;
With love as sweet as mother’s care
She heals his wounds, she strokes his hair . . . 
O God, could I but let him see
The hate of her consumin’ me!

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