Helen M Nightingale – 11

The Crocodile

To the children of the Royal Patriotic School

Little children seen so often

That your meaning grew forgotten-

Something very long ago

Something we should never know-

Till we watched you with a smile

Walking in a Crocodile

But an Emperor’s pride o’erwhelming

Gives you back your old-time meaning

Sign and symbol as of yore

Of a world again at war

Nations rise and fall – the while

Ever grows the Crocodile 

Mighty boast, the sun sets never

On our Empire: but endeavour

Still unresting as that sun

Must maintain what strife has won

Never dare she sleep-our Isle

Never ends the Crocodile

Not alone to love and cherish

But if need shall be to perish

May the Mother Country claim

Of her children, and her fame

Rests on many a khaki file

Rests, too, on the Crocodile

So they pass in sad reminder

Of the trail war leaves behind her

Of that utmost sacrifice

Victory’s unchanging price-

Down the long years, mile on mile

Winds the phantom Crocodile

Little hearts be swift of healing

Come to womanhood revealing

That the soldier dead bequeath

In the children whom they leave

Treasure more the miser’s pile

England’s hope – the Crocodile