A Volunteer Poem by Helen Parry Eden

A Volunteer



He had no heart for war, its ways and means,
Its train of machinations and machines,
Its murky provenance, its flagrant ends;
His soul, unpledged for his own dividends,
He had not ventured for a nation’s spoils.
So had he sighed for England and her toils
Of greed, was’t like his pulse would beat less blithe
To see the Teuton shells on Rotherhithe
And Mayfair – so each body had ‘scaped its niche,
The wretched poor, the still more wretched rich?
Why had he sought the struggle and its pain?
Lest little girls with linked hands in the lane
Should look “You did not shield us!” as they wended
Across his window when the war ended.

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