Upon the discovery in France in May of 2001 of twenty British soldiers killed in the battle of Arras on April 9th 1917.
In equal brotherhood they came,
Embraced by Liberty who stands
Together with the harlot Fame
Beside the graves of gallant bands.
One such were they, I see them all -
Twenty sons seduced by Valour,
Who sweetly smiled and let them fall
Into crimson mud and pallor.
With reverence their grave behold:
United as in former days,
Their voices silent that were bold
And spoke of life in youthful ways,
Their hollow eyes that once were bright,
Their brittle bones that once were strong
And cheeks once ruddy as the light
That shines from hearts that know not wrong.
Venture here and you shall see
How, grinning heavenward they lie,
In this soil that their blood made free,
Below a tranquil, azure sky.
And Oh how the songbirds chatter,
Oh how the summer breezes sigh
As the poppy petals scatter
Drawing wandering echoes nigh.
Their passions resonating deep,
Their gentle spirits haunt this land
And she, in turn, will always keep
Upon their tomb a gentle hand.