Where The Battle Passed

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

One blossoming rose-tree, like a beautiful thought
Nursed in a broken mind, that waits and schemes,
Survives, though shattered, and about it caught,
The strangling dodder streams.

Gaunt weeds: and here a bayonet or pouch,
Rusty and rotting where men fought and slew:
Bald, trampled paths that seem with fear to crouch,
Feeling a bloody dew.

Here nothing that was beauty's once remains.
War left the garden to its dead alone:
And Life and Love, who toiled here, for their pains
Have nothing once their own.

Death leans upon the battered door, at gaze
The house is silent where there once was stir
Of husbandry, that led laborious days,
With Love for comforter.

Now in Love's place, Death, old and halt and blind,
Gropes, searching everywhere for what may live.
War left it empty as his vacant mind;
It has no more to give.

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