The Way­side Burial

The Oban Times - - NEWS - By Wal­ter Lightowler Wilkin­son

They’re bring­ing in their re­cent dead – their re­cent dead! I see the shoul­der badge: a ‘South­ern crush.’ How small he looks – (O damn that singing thrush!) Not give foot five from boots to bat­tered head! Give him a kindly burial, my friends, – So much is due, when some such loyal life ends! ‘For Coun­try!’ Ay, and so our brave do die: Com­rade un­known, good rest to you! – Good-bye! They’re bring­ing their re­cent dead! – No pomp, no show: A dingy khaki crowd – his friends, his own. I, too, would like – (God, how that wind does moan!) – To be laid down by friends: it’s sweet­est so! A young life, as I take it; just a lad— (How cold it blows; and that grey sky, how sad!) – And yet: ‘For Coun­try’ – so a man should die: Com­rade un­known, good rest to you! – Good-bye! They’re bury­ing their dead! – I won­der now: A wife? – or mother? Mother it must be – In some trim home that fronts the English sea. (A sea-coast coun­try: that the badges show.) And she? – I sense her grief, I feel her tears! ‘This, then, the gar­nered har­vest of my years!’ And he? ‘For Coun­try, dear, a man must die!’ Com­rade un­known, good rest to you! – Good-bye! It’s reeded: he is buried! Com­rade, sleep! A wooden cross at your brave head will stand. A cross of wood? A Cal­vary! – The Land For whose sake you laid down sweet life, will keep Watch, lad, and ward that none may bring to shame. That Name for which you died! ‘What’s in a name’? – Eng­land shall an­swer! Thou will hear Her cry: ‘Well done, my own! my son – good rest: Good-bye!’

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