I HEARD a sound of crying in the lane,
A passionless, low crying,
And I said, 'It is the tears of the brown rain
On the leaves within the lane!'

I heard a sudden sighing at the door,
A soft, persuasive sighing,
And I said, 'The summer breeze has sighed before,
Gustily, outside the door!'

Yet from the place I fled, nor came again,
With my heart beating, beating!
For I knew 'twas not the breeze nor the brown rain
At the door and in the lane!

THEY sat before a dugout
In the unfamiliar quiet of silenced guns.
And one said:
'Now that it's over
What about a bit of truth?
Let us say why we came to fight--
No frills--
You first, old Fire-eater!'--

One with a whimsical face spoke freely;
'I?--I sought some stir,
Some urge in living,
Some sense in dying.
I sought a mountain top
With a view!'

'And the answer?'

'I have seen others find
What I sought.'

. . . . . . .

'I don't know that it's anyone's business
Why I came,'
(Another spoke as if unwillingly),
'A girl laughed, I think--
Funny?--Yes, funny as hell!'--

. . . . . . .

His neighbor said,
'I was a business man,
No sentiment,
Nothing of that kind,--
But the band played
And, suddenly, I saw
My country,
A woman, with hands outstretched,
Her back to the wall--'

'U--um,' they nodded,
'She's got a pull,
That old lady.'

. . . . . . .

'As for me,' the speaker was abrupt,
'I was afraid!
I saw pictures,
I heard things--
I couldn't sleep
For the Beast that was abroad--
That's what brought me!'

. . . . . . .

They sat silent for a moment
In the sun.
Then an older man said briefly,
'We were all afraid . . . . .
. . . But what of hate?
Did no one come because of hate?'

. . . . . . .

They looked at this man
But he added nothing,
And no one questioned.

. . . . . . .

A fresh-faced boy spoke modestly;
'Our family are all Army people--
So, of course--
And it's all over now.
We got through.
But it was a near thing--