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- Poems of American Patriotism - 30/30 -

Committed, in the silent night you rose And took your last faint steps-- These led you down, O great American, Down to the Winter night and the white beach, And there you saw that the huge hull that waited Was not as are the boats of the other dead, Frail craft for a brief passage; no, for this Was first of a long line of towering transports, Storm-worn and ocean-weary every one, The ships you launched, the ships you manned, the ships That now, returning from their sacred quest With the thrice-sacred burden of their dead, Lay waiting there to take you forth with them, Out with the ebb tide, on some farther quest.



[Sidenote: November 11, 1918] _When the fighting ceased there were two million American soldiers in France._

Oh, gallantly they fared forth in khaki and in blue, America's crusading host of warriors bold and true; They battled for the rights of man beside our brave Allies, And now they're coming home to us with glory in their eyes.

_Oh, it's home again, and home again, America for me! Our hearts are turning home again and there we long to be, In our beautiful big country beyond the ocean bars, Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars._

Our boys have seen the Old World as none have seen before. They know the grisly horror of the German gods of war: The noble faith of Britain and the hero-heart of France, The soul of Belgium's fortitude and Italy's romance.

They bore our country's great word across the rolling sea, "America swears brotherhood with all the just and free." They wrote that word victorious on fields of mortal strife, And many a valiant lad was proud to seal it with his life.

Oh, welcome home in Heaven's peace, dear spirits of the dead! And welcome home ye living sons America hath bred! The lords of war are beaten down, your glorious task is done; You fought to make the whole world free, and the victory is won.

_Now it's home again, and home again, our hearts are turning west, Of all the lands beneath the sun America is best. We're going home to our own folks, beyond the ocean bars, Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars._



[Sidenote: November 10, 1921] _This poem was read by the author over the casket of the Unknown Soldier, at the special memorial exercises held in the rotunda of the Capitol at Washington._

He is known to the sun-white Majesties Who stand at the gates of dawn. He is known to the cloud-borne company Whose souls but late have gone. Like wind-flung stars through lattice bars They throng to greet their own, With voice of flame they sound his name Who died to us unknown.

He is hailed by the time-crowned brotherhood, By the Dauntless of Marathon, By Raymond, Godfrey and Lion Heart Whose dreams he carried on. His name they call through the heavenly hall Unheard by earthly ear, He is claimed by the famed in Arcady Who knew no title here.

Oh faint was the lamp of Sirius And dim was the Milky Way. Oh far was the floor of Paradise From the soil where the soldier lay. Oh chill and stark was the crimson dark Where huddled men lay deep; His comrades all denied his call-- Long had they lain in sleep.

Oh strange how the lamp of Sirius Drops low to the dazzled eyes, Oh strange how the steel-red battlefields Are floors of Paradise. Oh strange how the ground with never a sound Swings open, tier on tier, And standing there in the shining air Are the friends he cherished here.

They are known to the sun-shod sentinels Who circle the morning's door, They are led by a cloud-bright company Through paths unseen before. Like blossoms blown, their souls have flown Past war and reeking sod, In the book unbound their names are found-- They are known in the courts of God!

Poems of American Patriotism - 30/30

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