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George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953). A Treasury of War Poetry. 1917.

Wilfrid Wilson Gibson


BROKEN, bewildered by the long retreat

Across the stifling leagues of southern plain,

Across the scorching leagues of trampled grain,

Half-stunned, half-blinded, by the trudge of feet

And dusty smother of the August heat,

He dreamt of flowers in an English lane,

Of hedgerow flowers glistening after rain—

All-heal and willow-herb and meadow-sweet.

All-heal and willow-herb and meadow-sweet—

The innocent names kept up a cool refrain—

All-heal and willow-herb and meadow-sweet,

Chiming and tinkling in his aching brain,

Until he babbled like a child again—

“All-heal and willow-herb and meadow-sweet.”