Poetry from the past, sacrifice in the present......

I have to share this wonderful poem with you and the blog that I took it from......and also some of those that the piece makes reference to.....I wrote this last night after reading it on Claire's blog, but felt that because of the words behind the piece I am talking about, I wanted to check with Brat and make sure that borrowing some of the work from the piece was kosher before I posted it, so I am changing the time to reflect the current time to now and thanks again Brat!

First the blog is Tanker Brothers and the piece in reference that was written was about "The Girl Behind the Man behind the Gun" which talks about some very special "girls". One is Claire over at Knee Deep in the Hooah. A blog I have to confess to being quite a follower of for some time. I have to agree with what the piece says about Claire and also about Some Soldier's Mom. These are two pretty remarkable women, both with children serving our Country in a time of War.....and then there is Shelly over at Can I Borrow Your Life who joins them as they endure the worries of having a child in danger.......but they are just a few of the many I know who have children standing up to defend or have already defended this Nation with little in return......my heart goes out to them and all the mothers of our service members, my mother in law as well. I can not imagine having a child doing what my husband does, what each of you must go through as a mother......and those like Claire, who have both sides of their heart tore at....well, I simply have no words.......and then there is Mel, who pens Calm Cool & Collected who's story is one of pain and sorrow and courage to regain a life that she never had any intention of leading.......the first time I came upon her blog I did not know if I could continue to read on, I was so immensely sad for this young woman, not much older then my oldest daughter, but I realized what great strength it takes at such a young age to endure what she has.....and so I read on......

I make no attempts to tell the story, just to add how each of these women and their stories have touched me. We all have a story, each unique, but bound by the same tears.......I could not in a million years be able to convey the sentiment behind the words to the piece, but I can put the information on my blog, and like me, maybe someone else will come upon the story and it will touch them too......

And so the remarkable poem I wanted to add to my blog, thanks to Brat......(and of course to the Vancouver Public Library for their hard work)

The Girl Behind the Man Behind the Gun

by MacDonald, Wilson Pugsley, (b. 1880)

You have seen the line of khaki swinging grandly down the street,
You have heard the band blare out Britannic songs;
You have read a ton of papers and you've thrown them at your feet,
And your brain's a battlefield for fighting throngs.
You have cheered for Tommy Atkins, and you've yelled for Jack Canuck;
You have praised the French and Belgians, every one.
But I'm rhyming here a measure to the valor and the pluck
Of the Girl Behind the Man Behind the Gun.

There's a harder game than fighting; there's a deeper wound by far
Than the bayonet or the bullet ever tore.
And a patient, little woman wears upon her heart a scar
Which the lonesome years will keep for evermore.
There are bands and bugles crying and the horses madly ride,
And in passion are the trenches lost or won.
But SHE battles in the silence, with no comrade at her side,
Does the girl behind the man behind the gun.

They are singing songs in Flanders and there's music in the wind;
They are shouting for their country and their king.
But the hallways yearn for music in the homes they left behind,
For the mother of a soldier does not sing.
In the silence of the night time, 'mid a ring of hidden foes,
And without a bugle cry to cheer her on.
She is fighting fiercer battles than a soldier ever knows:
And her triumph—is an open grave at dawn.

You have cheered the line of khaki swinging grandly down the street,
But you quite forgot to cheer another line.
They are plodding sadly homeward, with no music for their feet,
To a far more lonely river than the Rhine.
Ah! the battlefield is wider than the cannon's sullen roar;
And the women weep o'er battles lost or won.
For the man a cross of honor; but the crepe upon the door
For the girl behind the man behind the gun.

When the heroes are returning and the world with flags is red,
When you show the tattered trophies of the war,
When your cheers are for the living and your tears are for the dead
Which the foeman in the battle trampled o'er.
When you fling your reddest roses at the horsemen in array,
With their helmets flaming proudly in the sun,
I would bid you wear the favor of an apple-blossom spray
For the girl behind the man behind the gun.
(courtesy of Granger's World of Poetry)


  1. Thanks for the poem and your tributes to Claire, Shelly and Mel, ASW. Good stuff!

    (and thanks for dropping by EIP tonite, too!)

  2. ASW,
    Ok, I should not have read this at work, the tears are flowing. It is beautiful. I really need to find a good waterproof mascara.
    Thanks ASW and Brat..


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