I can see them yet, as they marched away,
So debonair, so brave, so gay!
I can see them yet, as they turned to wave,
The smiles erased from their faces grave.
And as I stood there, turned to stone,
The sun's last glint from their rifles shone.
I can still see my Mother, with face so white
And my Father, standing so still,
Trying to think that all was right,
Trying to feel like it was God's will.
Yes, we all tried to be as brave as they,
As my husband and brother marched away.
After many a weary month and long
Came the news, more cheering than the happiest song.
The whistles were blowing, the bells were ringing.
Everywhere people were shouting and singing.
"The War is over at last" cried they,
And the sad old World became hysteric'ly gay.
We looked at each other through tears of joy
And Mother murmered softly, "My boy, my boy!"
Happy plans for their return we made.
I tremble even now, as these mem'ries fade.
"Killed in action", the telegram bore.
"Killed in action"; weary brain repeated o'er and o'er.
Yes, the bells were ringing,
They should have tolled!
The sound of bells will turn me faint and cold
My brother had died the day before.
Josephine Abby Lamb Baker