Thomas of the Light Heart

Original Text: 
Owen Seaman, War-Time Verses (London: Constable, 1915): 20-21. SRLF_UCR:LAGE-4471945. Internet Archive.
1Facing the guns, he jokes as well
2    As any Judge upon the Bench;
3Between the crash of shell and shell
4    His laughter rings along the trench;
5He seems immensely tickled by a
7He whistles down the day-long road,
8    And, when the chilly shadows fall
9And heavier hangs the weary load,
10    Is he down-hearted? Not at all.
11'Tis then he takes a light and airy
13His songs are not exactly hymns;
14    He never learned them in the choir;
15And yet they brace his dragging limbs
16    Although they miss the sacred fire;
17Although his choice and cherished gems
19He takes to fighting as a game;
20    He does no talking, through his hat,
21Of holy missions; all the same
22    He has his faith--be sure of that;
23He'll not disgrace his sporting breed,
24Nor play what isn't cricket. There's his creed.


6] "Black Maria": 16-inch German shells that exceeded the range of the English guns and "on bursting emitted volumes of dense smoke" (OED). Back to Line
12] The World War I song, "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," written by Jack Judge (1872-1938). Back to Line
18] "The Watch upon the Thames": ironic allusion to the German World-War-I patriotic anthem "Die Wacht am Rhein." Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: