Alfred Joyce Kilmer

Here you will find the Poem Rouge Bouquet of poet Alfred Joyce Kilmer

Rouge Bouquet

In a wood they call Rouge Bouquet 
There is a new-made grave today, 
Built by never a spade nor pick 
Yet covered with earth 10 meters thick. 
There lie many fighting men, 
 Dead in their youthful prime, 
Never to laugh nor love again 
 Nor taste the Summertime. 
For Death came flying through the air 
And stopped his flight at the dugout stair, 
Touched his prey and left them there, 
 Clay to clay. 
He hid their bodies stealthily 
In the soil of the land they fought to free 
 And fled away. 
Now over the grave abrupt and clear 
 Three volleys ring; 
And perhaps their brave young spirits hear 
 The bugles sing: 
"Go to sleep! 
Go to sleep! 
Slumber well where the shell screamed and fell. 
Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor, 
You will not need them any more. 
Danger's past; 
Now at last, 
Go to sleep!" 

There is on earth no worthier grave 
To hold the bodies of the brave 
Than this place of pain and pride 
Where they nobly fought and nobly died. 
Never fear but in the skies 
Saints and angels stand 
Smiling with their holy eyes 
 On this new-come band. 
St. Michael's sword darts through the air 
and touches the aureole on his hair 
As he sees them stand saluting there, 
 His stalwart sons: 
And Patrick, Brigid, Columkill 
Rejoice that in veins of warriors still 
 The Gael's blood runs. 
And up to Heaven's doorway floats, 
 From the wood called Rouge Bouquet, 
A delicate cloud of bugle notes 
 That softly say: 
Comrades true, born anew, peace to you! 
Your souls shall be where the heroes are 
And your memory shine like the morning-star. 
Brave and dear, 
Shield us here.