Helen M Nightingale – 5

To a Friend Fallen

We questioned once, in those first days of war

Had choice been given us that we should live

In this same age, or after or before

This came to pass, what answer we would give.

And some of us, aghast at all the pain

And dreadful anguish that should make the earth

One mighty place of tombs, said we were fain

That this had happened e’er our day of birth.

But, ardent-hearted, you caught up on the gage^

“I hold it grand to be alive today

And more to be of military age

Such privilege as rarely comes men’s way”

Now you have fallen: as you spoke could you

Have looked down the year with prophet eyes

And seen the goal your choice would lead you to

We know you had not spoken otherwise.

^Rose to the challenge.