World War I Poetry by Women: Mary Gilmore

War
     by Mary Gilmore

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.

More on this poet in Behind Their Lines.

Mary Gilmore

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