August 1914

The sun rose over the sweep of the hill
    All bare for the gathered hay,
And a blackbird sang by the window-sill,
    And a girl knelt down to pray:
          ‘Whom Thou hast kept through the night, O Lord,
          Keep Thou safe through the day.’
 
The sun rose over the shell-swept height,
     The guns are over the way,
And a soldier turned from the toil of the night
    To the toil of another day,
          And a bullet sang by the parapet
          To drive in the new-turned clay.
 
The sun sank slow by the sweep of the hill,
     They had carried all the hay,
And a blackbird sang by the window-sill,
    And a girl knelt down to pray:
          ‘Keep Thou safe through the night, O Lord,
          Whom Thou hast kept through the day.’
 
The sun sank slow by the shell-swept height,
    The guns had prepared a way,
And a soldier turned to sleep that night
    Who would not wake for the day,
          And a blackbird flew from the window-sill,
          When a girl knelt down to pray.

More Poems by May Wedderburn Cannan