War's End Armistice Day 1935

Greyer and older, still they stand
Wearier, quieter, still they pray;
Men who had offered their all to a land.
And their thoughts run back to an olden day
When Youth sailed gallantly, gaily forth
Romance for King, and faith to the fore
To the older, bitterer lands of the north,
To battle, that men might end all war.

Ageing Diggers, grown wiser now,
Again they are dreaming before their shrine
Of the long-gone day when they made the vow
With hearts uplifted, and eyes a-shine.
And thro' their dreaming there drifts to-day
A newer note and a sad refrain,
As their thoughts return to that bitter fray:
'Was it all in vain? Was it all in vain?'

Soberer, sterner, still they hear
Endless thunder of vengeful guns
Echoing out of a long dead year.
And, 'God,' they pray, 'must these our sons
Learn over again all we'd fain forget?
Buy over again their need of peace
Live over again worse madness yet?
Is earth's grim agony never to cease?'

Ageing Diggers before their shrine:
'Is there never a respite, no release?
We who have suffered look for a sign.
Is there never a hope for a lasting peace?
We who have known it all before:
The madness, agony, needless pain
We who once battled to end all war
Was it all in vain? Was it all in vain?'

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"War's End Armistice Day 1935" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 26 Feb. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6812/war's-end-armistice-day-1935>.

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