Friday, 1 July 2011

Before Action by Lt William Noel Hodgson MC

Today is the 95th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme and 95 years since 20 year old Awbery Trebilcock lost his life.  Whilst I was researching his story I found a  poem written by one of his comrades,  Lieutenant William Noel Hodgson, the evening before the battle.  Lt. Hodgson was 23 years old.

By all the glories of the day
And the cool evening's benison
By that last sunset touch that lay
Upon the hills when day was done,
By beauty lavishly outpoured
And blessings carelessly received,
By all the days that I have lived
Make me a soldier, Lord.

By all of all man's hopes and fears
And all the wonders poets sing,
The laughter of unclouded years,
And every sad and lovely thing;
By the romantic ages stored
With high endeavour that was his,
By all his mad catastrophes
Make me a man, O Lord.

I, that on my familiar hill
Saw with uncomprehending eyes
A hundred of thy sunsets spill
Their fresh and sanguine sacrifice,
Ere the sun swings his noonday sword
Must say good-bye to all of this; -
By all delights that I shall miss,
Help me to die, O Lord.

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