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The Anxious Dead

John McCrae 1872 (Guelph) – 1918 (Boulogne-sur-Mer)



O guns, fall silent till the dead men hear
 Above their heads the legions pressing on:
(These fought their fight in time of bitter fear,
 And died not knowing how the day had gone.)

O flashing muzzles, pause, and let them see
 The coming dawn that streaks the sky afar;
Then let your mighty chorus witness be
 To them, and Caesar, that we still make war.

Tell them, O guns, that we have heard their call,
 That we have sworn, and will not turn aside,
That we will onward till we win or fall,
 That we will keep the faith for which they died.

Bid them be patient, and some day, anon,
 They shall feel earth enwrapt in silence deep;
Shall greet, in wonderment, the quiet dawn,
 And in content may turn them to their sleep.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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John McCrae

Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae, MD was a Canadian poet, physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I, and a surgeon during the Second Battle of Ypres, in Belgium. more…

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