voices from the past

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War

by Mary Gilmore (1865-1962)

Australian writer

Out in the dust he lies:
Flies in his mouth, 
Ants in his eyes ... 

I stood at the door 
Where he went out;
Full-grown man,
Ruddy and stout;

I heard the march
Of the trampling feet,
Slow and steady
Come down the street;

The beat of the drum
Was clods on the heart,
For all that the regiment
Looked so smart!

I heard the crackle
Of hasty cheers
Run like the breaking
Of unshed tears,

And just for a moment,
As he went by,
I had sight of his face,
And the flash of his eye.

He died a hero's death,
They said,
When they came to tell me
My boy was dead;

But out in the street
A dead dog lies;
Flies in his mouth,
Ants in his eyes.

About the Author

See our page on Mary Gilmore. Includes a linked list of all her writing available on our website.

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