December 5th, 2019

Duath

Elizabeth Daryush, 'For a survivor of the Mesopotamian campaign'

For a survivor of the Mesopotamian campaign

War’s wasted era is a desert shore,
As know those who have passèd there, a place

Where, within sound of swoll’n destruction’s roar,
Wheel the wild vultures, lust and terror base;
Where, making ready for them, stalk the grim
Barbarian forms, hunger, disease and pain,
Who, slashing all life’s beauty limb from limb,
Crush it as folly on the stony plain.

A desert: – those too who, as thou, have been
Followers of war’s angel, Sacrifice,
(Stern striders to beyond brute torment’s scene,
Soarers above the swerves of fear and vice)
Know that the lightning of his ghostly gaze
Has wrecked for them for ever earth’s small ways.

By Elizabeth Daryush

Mesopotamian campaign, First World War