A Poem:

I was looking for a humorous legal poem I vaguely recalled, so I borrowed some legal poetry books from the library; and by sheer accident, I ran across a set of serious poems about war, including in one of the books chiefly because they appear to be by English lawyers. Here's one I particularly liked, presumably written around World War II (or at least about it):


Trumpets again too soon have pealed
   For us who dreamed release from war.
   Asking that courage once before
Our fathers showed on Flanders field.

Not ours to judge their ill success,
   Who won the war and lost the peace.
   Enough if when our tired guns cease,
They deem our bravery not less.

No Lord of Hosts shall bear our trust,
   Who face all fates with open eyes.
   Straight home the unswerving bullet flies,
Unschooled to know whose cause is just.

No Angel's wings shall shield from harm,
   Nor turn the swift resistless blow.
   Stands only 'gainst a cunning foe
The cunning of our own right arm.

It may be, howsoever fain,
   We shall not hold the last redoubt;
   Stern steel shall wear our ardour out,
And all our soldiery be vain.

It may be when the fight is done,
   And peace war's retinue reprieves,
   We shall march home with laurel leaves,
As fruitless as our fathers won.

We ask nor pity nor applause.
   Say only "In the narrow pass
   Close comrades with Leonidas,
They broke a lance in freedom's cause.

-- Michael Albery