Prayer of a Soldier in France

By Joyce Kilmer 1886–1918 Joyce Kilmer
My shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).

I march with feet that burn and smart
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).

Men shout at me who may not speak
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).

I may not lift a hand to clear
My eyes of salty drops that sear.

(Then shall my fickle soul forget
Thy agony of Bloody Sweat?)

My rifle hand is stiff and numb
(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).

Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.

So let me render back again
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.

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Poet Joyce Kilmer 1886–1918

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Religion, Social Commentaries, The Body, Faith & Doubt, Nature, Heroes & Patriotism, Christianity

Poetic Terms Imagery, Allusion, Couplet

 Joyce  Kilmer

Biography

Journalist and poet Joyce Kilmer was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1886. Known for poetry that celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his religious faith, he was killed after enlisting in the United States Army during World War I. Kilmer was awarded by the French the prestigious Croix de Guerre (War Cross) for his bravery, and a section of National Forest in North Carolina is named after him.

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Poems by Joyce Kilmer

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Social Commentaries, The Body, Faith & Doubt, Nature, Heroes & Patriotism, Christianity

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Imagery, Allusion, Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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