The Stretcher-Bearer


Robert Service

My stretcher is one scarlet stain,

And as I tries to scrape it clean,

I tell you wot -- I'm sick with pain

For all I've 'eard, for all I've seen;

Around me is the 'ellish night,

And as the war's red rim I trace,

I wonder if in 'Eaven's height,

Our God don't turn away 'Is Face.

I don't care 'oose the Crime may be;

I 'olds no brief for kin or clan;

I 'ymns no 'ate: I only see

As man destroys his brother man;

I waves no flag: I only know,

As 'ere beside the dead I wait,

A million 'earts is weighed with woe,

A million 'omes is desolate.

In drippin' darkness, far and near,

All night I've sought them woeful ones.

Dawn shudders up and still I 'ear

The crimson chorus of the guns.

Look! like a ball of blood the sun

'Angs o'er the scene of wrath and wrong. . . .

"Quick! Stretcher-bearers on the run!"

O Prince of Peace! 'ow long, 'ow long?

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