Rouge Bouquet

by Joyce Kilmer

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 anymore.
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.
And up to Heaven’s doorway floats,
From the wood called Rouge Bouquet,
A delicate cloud of bugle notes
That softly says:
Comrades true born anew, peace to you!
Your souls shall be where the heroes are
And your memory shines like the morning-star,
Brave and dear,
Shield us here.