Edward George Dyson

(March 1865 - 22 August 1931 / Ballarat / Victoria / Australia)

Battle Passes - Poem by Edward George Dyson

A quaint old gabled cottage sleeps be-
tween the raving hills.
To right and left are livid strife, but on the
deep, wide sills
The purple pot-flowers swell and glow, and
o'er the walls and eaves
Prinked creeper steals caressing hands, the
poplar drips its leaves.
Within the garden hot and sweet
Fair form and woven color meet,
While down the clear, cool stones, 'tween
banks with branch and blossom gay,
A little, bridged, blind rivulet goes touching
out its way.

Peace lingers hidden from the knife, the tear-
ing blinding shell,
Where falls the spattered sunlight on a lichen-
covered well.
No voice is here, no fall of feet, no smoke lifts
cool and grey,
But on the granite stoop a cat blinks vaguely
at the day.
From hill to hill across the vale
Storms man's terrific iron gale;
The cot roof on a brooding dove recks not the
distant gun.
A brown hen scolds her chickens chasing
midges in the sun.

Now down the eastward slope they come.
No call of life, no beat of drum,
But stealthily, and in the green,
Low hid, with rifle and machine,
Spit hate and death; and red blood flows
To shame the whiteness of the rose.

Crack followes crash; the bestial roar
Of gastly and insensate war
Breaks on the cot. A rending stoke,
The red roof springs, and in the smoke
And spume of shells the riven walls
Pile where the splintered elm-tree spawls.

From westward, streaming down hill,
Shot-ravaged, thinned, but urgent still,
The brown, fierce, blooded Anzacs sweep,
And Hell leaps a up. The lilies weep
Strange crimson tears. Tight-lipped and mute,
The grim, gaunt soldiers stab and shoot.

It passes. Frantic, fleeing death,
Wild-eyed, foam-flecked and every breath
A labored agony, like deer
That feel the hounds' keen teeth, appear
The Prussian men, and, wild to slay
The hunters press upon their prey.

Cries fade and fitful shots die down. The
Tumbled ruin now
Smoke faintly in the summer light, and lifts
The trodden bough.
A sigh stirs in the trampled green, and held
And tainted red
The rill creeps o'er a dead man's face and
steals along its bed.
One deep among the lilacs thrown
Shock all the stillness with a moan.
Peace like the snowflake lights again where
utter silence lies,
And softly with white finger-tips she seals a
soldier eyes.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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