This poem was printed in The Luton News September 1914, and tells the tale of the harsh realities of life as a reservist when the call to take-up-arms is raised.
Why are you crying, Mummy dear,
What is it makes you fret?
Daddy's gone to the war, I know,
Won't he come back, not yet?
Yes, dear, he will, I hope, come back,
His Mother replies, but her eyes are dim.
We loved him so, our all in all,
Oh, they might have left us him.
But miles away, in another land,
Unmoved by the bullet's 'ping,'
His eyes "right front" to a hell of flame,
Upholding his oath to his King,
The husband fights until he wounded falls,
And lies to the close of day;
Then is found at last by the ambulance corps,
And is tenderly carried away.
And there in the little Red Cross tent,
Where some of war's price is paid,
Tossing with fever and racked with pain,
The wounded soldier is laid.
He lies and thinks of those far away,
Till kindly nature asserts her powers,
His weary head falls back at last,
And he sleeps through slowly passing tears.
Sleeps like a child tired with play,
And dreams of his cottage home,
Of his absent wife and little boy,
Whom he left across the foam.
He came in answer to duty's call,
And though oceans roll between,
His heart is true to those at home,
Through every changing scene.
Forgotten now in the land of dreams
Are all his aches and pain,
For he lives for a while in sweet content,
In touch with his home again.
His wife is waiting by the door,
In that loving way she had,
While a little boy with eager feet,
Comes running to meet his dad.
Thus pictures of the happy past,
Fly quickly across his fevered brain;
Scenes and faces he hoped to see
In the dear homeland again.
But suddenly his dreams are changed,
Instead of those he loves
He seems to lock on angel forms,
In the light that shines from above.
And then at length the morning dawns,
The surgeon comes his round
And stands at last by the little bed,
And looks but he makes no sound.
For in one swift glance his trained eye sees,
That the angel of death has been here,
And although the body remains below,
The spirit has sped to a brighter sphere.
And when the news is told to his wife,
When she knows the voice she loved is still;
Then while her heart with pain is rent
She can only murmur 'Twas Heaven's will,
To one short prayer her pain gives birth:
When I have reached life's last milestone,
May Bill and I, by death thus severed,
Be joined before the great white throne.