John McCrae

(30 November 1872 – 28 January 1918 / Guelph, Ontario)

The Pilgrims - Poem by John McCrae

An uphill path, sun-gleams between the showers,
Where every beam that broke the leaden sky
Lit other hills with fairer ways than ours;
Some clustered graves where half our memories lie;
And one grim Shadow creeping ever nigh:
And this was Life.

Wherein we did another's burden seek,
The tired feet we helped upon the road,
The hand we gave the weary and the weak,
The miles we lightened one another's load,
When, faint to falling, onward yet we strode:
This too was Life.

Till, at the upland, as we turned to go
Amid fair meadows, dusky in the night,
The mists fell back upon the road below;
Broke on our tired eyes the western light;
The very graves were for a moment bright:
And this was Death.


Comments about The Pilgrims by John McCrae

  • Khairul Ahsan (6/23/2018 12:17:00 AM)


    Loved the second stanza the most. The concluding four lines also left a deep impression on my mind:
    'The mists fell back upon the road below;
    Broke on our tired eyes the western light;
    The very graves were for a moment bright:
    And this was Death.'
    A masterpiece, no doubt!
    (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Susan Williams (6/22/2018 6:18:00 PM)


    An elegantly written poem about our pilgrimage in life and how we act upon that journey to the grave. I am reading more by him! (Report) Reply

  • Dr.tony Brahmin (6/22/2018 2:31:00 PM)


    The mists fell back upon the road below;
    Broke on our tired eyes the western light; graves, this was death......... very nice poem. tony
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (6/22/2018 10:58:00 AM)


    Life and death! !

    This journey.

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
    (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (6/22/2018 10:22:00 AM)


    The path leads us to the grave. There is no escape. A very nice poem with a deep meaning related to life and death. Thanks a lot for sharing such a beautiful poem. (Report) Reply

  • (6/22/2018 9:37:00 AM)


    Very striking: contrast of graves washed by grim shadow or western light as interchangeable for life or death. (Report) Reply

  • Lungelo S Mbuyazi (6/22/2018 7:09:00 AM)


    Such a nice write... I admire the brilliance of stanza 2 (Report) Reply

  • Ruta Mohapatra (6/22/2018 2:27:00 AM)


    A beautiful and sad poem! All that remains in the end are graves! Thanks for sharing! (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (6/22/2018 1:51:00 AM)


    Such a fine poem by John McCrae👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (6/22/2018 1:23:00 AM)


    I liked the format of this poem. (Report) Reply

Read all 10 comments »



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Read poems about / on: sky, death, sun, light, night, life, memory



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002



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