The Wounded

A poem by John Le Gay Brereton

Stupidity and Selfishness and Fear,
Who hold enslaved the intellect of Man,
Have found their victims here.

We saw them go, alert to seek the van
Where phantom Glory showered her withering leaves;
Now they return who can.

Slowly, full-fraught with pain, the vessel heaves
From labouring seas, and creeps along the bay
To where the city grieves.

Happy are those who limp the dusty way;
And those whose eyes can meet the loving glance,
Happy indeed are they.

But mock them not with babble of romance:
They have glared at death across the orient rocks
Or in the mire of France.

O welcome to your land of herds and flocks
And fields that pray toward a fairy sky
That promises and mocks.

Welcome! our eyes are strained and sorrow-dry,
Watching for peace and you, and every heart
Would fain, but cannot, cry.

For you who, led by love, have borne your part
Where war’s black ploughshare turns the bloody sand
And crops of hatred start

For you and by your help, heroic band,
We swear by love and labour to make this
A lovelier, worthier land.

Nor shall we let the home-bred serpent hiss
Unscotched upon our hearth, if ever here
Our hope and fortune kiss.

The workers of the battered world draw near,
Scorning a foeman’s name. The heart of Man
In every land is dear.

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