Into Battle

Original Text: 
T. Sturge Moore, Some Soldier Poets (London: Grant Richards, 1919): 13-15. PR 610 M6 Robarts Library (copy of Marie Sturge Moore).
1The naked earth is warm with Spring,
2And with green grass and bursting trees
3Leans to the sun's gaze glorying,
4And quivers in the sunny breeze;
5And life is Colour and Warmth and Light,
6And a striving evermore for these;
7And he is dead who will not fight,
8And who dies fighting has increase.
9The fighting man shall from the sun
10Take warmth, and life from glowing earth;
11Speed with the light-foot winds to run
12And with the trees to newer birth;
13And find, when fighting shall be done,
14Great rest, and fulness after dearth.
15All the bright company of Heaven
16Hold him in their bright comradeship,
18Orion's belt and sworded hip:
19The woodland trees that stand together,
20They stand to him each one a friend;
21They gently speak in the windy weather;
22They guide to valley and ridges end.
24And the little owls that call by night,
25Bid him be swift and keen as they,
26As keen of ear, as swift of sight.
27The blackbird sings to him: "Brother, brother,
28If this be the last song you shall sing,
29Sing well, for you may not sing another;
30Brother, sing."
31In dreary doubtful waiting hours,
32Before the brazen frenzy starts,
33The horses show him nobler powers; --
34O patient eyes, courageous hearts!
36And all things else are out of mind,
37And only joy of battle takes
38Him by the throat and makes him blind,
39Through joy and blindness he shall know,
40Not caring much to know, that still
41Nor lead nor steel shall reach him, so
42That it be not the Destined Will.
43The thundering line of battle stands,
44And in the air Death moans and sings;
45But Day shall clasp him with strong hands,
46And Night shall fold him in soft wings.

Notes

17] The Dog Star: Sirius.
the Sisters Seven: the Pleiades in the constellation Taurus. Back to Line
23] kestrel: falcon. Back to Line
35] Moore quotes a letter from Grenfell edited in Viola Meynell's Julian Grenfell: A Memoir (Burns and Oates):
Here we are in the burning centre of it all, and I would not be anywhere else for a million pounds and the Queen of Sheba. (17-18)
Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1915
Publication Notes: 
The Times (London, May 28, 1915)
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.