Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

The Call 2 - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

There's an office back in London, and the dusty sunlight falls
With its swarms of dancing motes across the floor,
On the piles of books and papers and the drab distempered walls,
And the bowlers on their pegs behind the door.
There 's a row of clerks a-sitting at their desks there day by day,
While the muffled roar of London thunders by;
With their eyes upon their ledgers they are growing bald and grey,
And if something hadn't happened - so would I!

But après la guerre - après la guerre -
They'll have to find another chap to hang his hat up there ;
They'll have to get some other lad to climb that office stair,
For I'm going to ramble round a bit - après la guerre!

There's an office-stool in London where a fellow used to sit
(But the chap that used to sit there's oversea!)
There's a job they 're keeping open while that fellow does his bit
(And the one that job is waiting for is - Me!)
There's a spotty fly-blown window and a dusty dim wire blind,
There's a view of dingy bricks and smoky sky;
But I've cut the whole connection and I've left the lot behind,
And I'm never going back there - no, not I!

There's a chap in the Canadians, a clinking good chap too,
And he hails from back o' nowhere in B. C.,
And he says it's sure some country, and I wonder if it's true,
And I rather fancy that's the place for me,
For he talks about the gorges where the glacier meets the pine,
And the hosts of heaven go marching star by star,
Over leagues of silent ranges where the lone lakes gloom and shine,
Out beyond the survey, up in Cassiar!

And it may be black ingratitude, but oh, good Lord, I know
I could never stick the office life again,
With the coats and cuffs and collars, and the long hours crawling slow,
And the quick lunch, and the same old morning train;
I have looked on Life and Death, and seen the naked soul of man,
And the heart of things is other than it seemed,
And the world is somehow larger than the good old office plan,
And the ways of earth are wider than I dreamed.

And après la guerre - après la guerre -
Though a thousand jobs await me, by my living soul I swear
If the God of Battles spares me I'll be anywhere but there
When the boys go marching home again - après la guerre!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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