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Leon Gellert

War!

When my poor body died,-Alas!
I watched it topple down a hill
And sink beside a tuft of grass.
I laughed like mad,
and laughing still
I bowed and thanked the bit of shell
That set me free and made me glad.
Then quietly,
I strolled to Hell.

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The Bush Lover

He lingers in the lazy grass
And talks of loneliness with trees,
The clouds pass, and the hours pass;
And far afield he hears the bees.

He sees the wistful moon arise;
He sits and stares, and clasps his knees.
The town cries and the crowd cries,
'I’ll stay with theses, he says 'and these.'

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The Grey World

Grey nights in the wind,
And the grey-faced dead.
Grey hairs in my head,
And grey eyes in my mind.

Grey mists in the morn,
And grey waves that rave,
Grey mould on my grave,
And grey eyes forlorn.

Grey clouds in the sky,
And the grey world asleep,
Grey ghosts that sigh,
And grey eyes that weep.

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A Song

The night has come,, I feel the desert dew,
I lie in Afric's sands
And breath the night, for night like these are few
In other lands;
But where are you?

May sleep come soon. I see old shadows creep
Along the sleep stream,
The darkness 'mid the talking palms is deep.
I can but dream
Are you asleep?

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The Cross

'I wear a cross of bronze,' he said,
'and men have told me I was brave.'
He turned his head,
And pointing to a grave,
'they told me that my work of war was done.'
His fierce mouth set.
'and yet, and yet…..'
he trembled where he stood,
'and yet, and yet'…..
I have not won
That broken cross of wood.

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The River

Swift with the dawn she rises, quick and cold,
Rattling the pebbles with her silver shoon,
Chasing a thousand fish of instant gold,
And racing into noon.

But in the night so tired at having tracked
Her great sea-lover to his sounding lair;
Down from the shoulders of her cataract,
She loosens all her hair.

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Armageddon

The world rolls wet with blood,
and the skinny hand of Death
gropes at the beating heart.
The salt tears well and flood
with strife the choking breath,
and nations sway and part.
The scythe of Time runs red,

red with the bleeding year.
Sound is but a knell,
and Sleep has a scarlet bed.
Dreams are wet with Fear,
and Honour sits in Hell.

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Cold!

Come not to me with loveliness
Across the crying hill;
For once I held thee pitiless
Hast thou no pity still?

Come not to me with hot delight,
And touch this moveless clay,
Lest my poor heart that knows the night
Awake and feel the day.

Come not to me and kiss this head,
And heat me with thy fire;
For I am dead, and thou art dead;
And dead is my desire.

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The Old and the New

Mars! Mars!
Thy clashing sword was keen
And glittering with stars.
Thine armour sheen
Shone to the terrored sky,
And o’er the bodies of thy foes
With open blows
Didst step to victory.

War! War!
They hidden horrors sound
And echo from afar.
Upon the ground
Thou liest now in fear
To wait the cunning chance
To thrust thy lance,
And hurl thy poisoned spear.

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Now ‘Neath the Cool Stars

Now ‘neath the cool stars
I know thee more.
Here where the world wars
By the winding shore.

Here by the whirling shell
I know thee most;
Here where a thousand fell
On a battered coast.

Strong ‘mid the battle-smoke
I hold more dear
Those soft words you spoke
To a foolish ear.

Dead, where the hill dips
I lie more wise,
Dreaming of red lips,
And crying eyes.

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