Relieving Guard

A poem by Francis Bret Harte

Thomas Starr King. Obiit March 4, 1864

Came the relief. “What, sentry, ho!
How passed the night through thy long waking?”
“Cold, cheerless, dark, as may befit
The hour before the dawn is breaking.”

“No sight? no sound?” “No; nothing save
The plover from the marshes calling,
And in yon western sky, about
An hour ago, a star was falling.”

“A star? There’s nothing strange in that.”
“No, nothing; but, above the thicket,
Somehow it seemed to me that God
Somewhere had just relieved a picket.”

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