A hilltop of green saw the soldier,
In pain as he cried to the mist;
For the soldier saw only his father,
In death to a black morningʼs fist.
Persephone watched from a rise
And sighed for the pain at her ʻneath,
And the father in white watched beside,
As the young soldier courted the wreath.

ʻI have but the one life to giveʼ he cried,
And felt his judgement true,
And then he wept for truth to wilt
And faith to drown in dew.
ʻAs againʼ cried the thoughtless Aegean,
ʻI have lost only morningʼs attire;
But the prayer for a tear of remembrance
Is the wood for the next mourningʼs fire.ʼ

Sweet Demeterʼs child spake at last
With a strength for the dying to learn,
That the voice of the winter be broken
As the harvests of honour return:
ʻFor the dew shall once more breed afresh
And shall plunder fateʼs deepest domain,
And while man follows peace through the darkness
He may never wear deathʼs coat in vain.ʼ

ʻAnd so hold the courage of lightʼ cried his father
ʻAnd would to the tunnel unseen –
And feel in the nightʼs dew a warning
And see, in the morning, the green.ʼ
Not brooding in the clammy light
The Aegean took death by the sword,
And headed in time for the darkness,
And soldiered the light by his word.


1978 (as amended)
© Michael G Reid 1978-2011