Constance Renshaw


RUPERT BROOKE - by C A Renshaw

Died April 23rd 1915

Death knows no growing old. Youth cannot fade
For him, nor Beauty wither. In his soul
Still stirs the lure of England: the long roll
Of moonlit seas, the meadows where he played
The scattered foam of Spring, the colonnade
Of murmering pines. Her sights and sounds are his,
Her dreams and laughter and green mysteries
He loves them in his Grecian olive-glade
And Love has made her deathless in his dreams
And Unforgettable in death. The fair
White beauty of his body lies in Greece,
- A little crumbled dust. But lo! There gleams
An English heaven above him, and deep peace
Breathes in his grove...... 'Tis 'ever England' there....!
 
 
 

All Quiet On The Western Front

"All quiet on the Western Front." The foe
Is firm entrenchéd near our lengthening lines.
They have placed their guns and laid their deep designs,
And built their bomb-proof shelters. Numbéd grow
Our aching limbs, and deadly grim and slow
The weary hours and days. .  .  .  And yet the signs
Of death are round us, treacherous bursting mines,
And shattering shells that hiss and sing and glow.

"All quiet on the Western Front" -- and yet
We keep untiring watch beside our guns,
The while Death hounds us down in tireless hunt.
We know that some of us, with stern face set,
Will be among the morrow's silent ones.
Yet  .  .  .  "all is quiet on the Western Front !"
 
 
 

The Great Push (July 1st, 1916) (p. 42)

Dawn greyed the dusky East. The hellish whine
Of shrapnel quickened to insensate noise,
And star-shells streaked the air.
  Impatient boys
Crouched down and waited for the vital sign.
. . . A red sun leapt to far horizon-line,
Hung low amid the mist in shuddering poise,
And saw of what grim deaths men made their joys,
What anguished hopes, what agonies divine.

The minute struck. Men fixed their bayonets
With eager, trembling hands.
 The signal flashed
From man to man; Youth's kindling eyes peered out
Into the dim Unknown, and Young life dashed
Through death-swept No Man's Land, while parapets
Tottered and broke beneath shell-scattering skies.

A thousand deaths swept by ! The boys held on
With close-shut lips. Each shell-burst, surging smoke
Hid them in reeking fumes which seemed to choke
The very air. Winds blew; the smoke was gone;
And lo ! our lines were thinner, and men lay,  p. 43
Tortured by some death-dealing battle-stroke,
Untended in the open, - weary folk
Who crawled into a hole and swooned away.

Lines thinned - but held unbroken, though men fell,
Like toppling wheat that knows the swinging scythe;
Though comrades saw loved comrades sink and writhe;
Though ghostly fragments hurtled through the air,
And drew men's tears; though Pain was everywhere;
. . . On - on - they marched through fire and steel and hell !
 
 
 

The Soldier's Request (p. 16)

When the red days are done, and all earth's wars
Are half-forgotten, and the world is still,
- If I should live, give me some clean cold hill
Where I can set my face against the stars,
Or some lone desert-land where no sound mars
The utter peace, - and let me drink my fill;
Let me forget that once I craved to kill;
Let me dream up at God, and hide my scars.

If I should die, grieve not for me, dear Heart.
To live is grievous, but to die is good.
Great love was ours, more free than wind or wave,
- The wonder-love that has no counter-part -
Grieve not for me, but write above my grave,
"Here lieth one who sometimes understood !"
 
 

The Woman's Hope (p. 18)

She gave her love to the wild control
Of peril-haunted seas, for England's sake,
Smiled up at him, hid all her fierce heartache,
Made splendid choice of Anguish ! . . . Then she stole
Back to her loneliness and woman's dole,
- A brave sweet woman, trusting through her fears.
Hope born of Prayer, nurtured by many tears,
Blossomed along the highways of her soul.

She hoped, - dreamed dreams, - caught joy from all his joy,
Felt the full glory of this war of wars,
Knew gallant pride for every blue-clad boy.
. . . Then on her light, a sudden darkness flowed.
Hope shrivelled in her soul's dim corridors
Like dead leaves rattling down a windy road !
 
 

Pal O' Mine (pp. 19-20)

We were little ones together, Pal o' mine,
Shared our sorrows and our triumphs and our joys,
Trampled knee-deep in the meadows,
Chased the dancing fire-light shadows,
Loved and broke each other's toys,
Pal o' mine.

We were lovers both together Pal o' mine,
Had the same strange dreams of Beauty and of Pain,
Felt the lure of things immortal,
Passed through Passion's fire-swept portal,
Loved the sunlight and the rain,
Pal o' mine.

Then we marched with England's youth - unafraid,
Tramped the muddy plains of Picardy at night,
Braved the wintry weather,
Laughed and sang and swore together,
As we fought the losing fight,
Unafraid.
 

Is it Death. - oh ! is it Death, Pal o' mine ? (p. 20)
Are you through with all Life's littleness and sham ?
You lie white and still below me,
But in Death you love and know me
For the weary fool I am,
Pal o' mine.
 
 
 

The Great Advance - 1917 (p. 21)

When they are dust, who loved and laughed and met
In the great days of War; when gallant swords
Lie rusted with the years, and all the words
They sang are silent and forgotten, - yet
France will remember (how should she forget !)
The deathless names of Loos and La Boiselle,
Of Contalmaison, Longueval, Gavrelle,
Leivin, Mametz and Lens and Courcellette.

France will remember how we stood by her
In that grim battle-hell that bred great souls,
When we strove on, past many a shattered bridge
And gaping house-front to our desolate goals,
And laughing boys, grown lovelier, holier,
Came by their manhood on the Vimy Ridge.
 
 
 

In Memoriam (p. 33)

This time last year the dreams of Youth were his;
He loved, made songs, knew laughter and fierce joy,
Ran with the winds a straight-limbed English boy,
Glimpsed God behind those veiled Infinities,
Where strange things stir, and passionate Beauty is.
He saw wild War, a living wild decoy.
And took it childlike for his latest toy,
- A child astray in grim immensities.

This time last year he held the reeking trench,
His dim soul questing for the Holy Grail
Among the mud of Flanders. In a hail
Of lead he fell, and I who loved him so
Knew sudden anguish and the deep heart-wrench.
. . . And Spring was on the world - a year ago !
 
 
 
 

When the Boys Come Home (p. 75)

When the arms are piled at last,
And the steel-bright bayonets fade,
When the splendid Pain is passed,
And God knows the world He made,
Back from the darkness into light,
Back to the quenchless fires of home,
From the crested waves of fight,
England's deathless men will come.

England's all - for love of her !
Shamrock, Sphinx and Flaming Sun,
Maple-leaf, New Zealander,
England's - England's - every one !
Brawny Scot - Colonial,
Irishmen with eyes a-dance,
- England's heart will hold them all,
When they come to her from France.

Marching, marching, marching by
With the flapping flags unfurled,
Flinging out a triumph-cry
Through the gateways of the world.
England's men will come again,
- Legs out-swinging, tears a-start, p. 76
Faces bronzed by wind and rain -
Into England's mother-heart.

Let me dream my smoky town;
Let me dream her crowded streets
When ranked fours go tramping down
To the drums' ecstatic beats.
Let me dream the opened doors
Where the brave gay pennons fly,
And the crowd that sways and roars
As the boys go marching by.

Let me crown my dreams with You,
For whom Love inviolate,
All the anguished long years through
Waits until it cannot wait.
. . . Come to me with hands and hair,
Come, through sleepless mists of pain,
Dearest . . . lest I be not there
When the boys come home again !
 
 

Constance Ada Renshaw - England's Boys (Erskine Macdonald Ltd.: London, 1916)

England's Boys  15
Dead Soldier Boys  16
Dead Sailor Boys 17
Air Men  18
Our Soldiers  19
"All Quiet on the Western Front"   20
Lieutenant Warneford, V. C .  21
Out There  22
Human Nature   23
Now That April's There   24
Dead Glories  25
Rhêims   26
Sonnets on England   27
Fatalism  31
Our Answer  32
The Canadian  34
Kitchener of Khartoum  35
The Battle of Jutland Bank  36
Beatty's Boy Hero  37
Home From Hunland  38
The Road to Ypres   40
The Great Push  42
"Killed in Action"  44
Cry From the City  45
Out  47
The Farmhouse in France  48
From Town to Country  51
P. R. S.   53
To A. P. S. (K. S. O. B.)  54
Romance  56
The Target   59
The Burial  60
The Sheathing of the Sword  61
The Camerons  62
The Long Road  64
The Shrine  66
The Lure of England  67
The Great War  69
Nurse Cavell  71
Lines to be used on a Memorial Card to be given to School Children Whose Fathers and Brothers have Fallen in the Great War  73
 
 

Constance Ada Renshaw - Battle and Beyond (Erskine Macdonald Ltd.: London, 1917)

Contents:
Boy Lovers 7
The First Camerons 1914 9
Inverness  12
The Soldier's Request 16
After the War 17
The Woman's Hope 18
Pal O' Mine 19
The Great Advance - 1917 21
The Noblest Height 22
The Star to the Moth 23
The Moth to the Star 23
Birth and Re-Birth 25
A Kiss 26
Dead Youth 27
Dead Days 28
A Cameron's Prayer 30
My Comrades 31
Faith 32
In Memoriam 33
The Mother of the Dead V. C. 34
Ode of the Birth of a Christmas Baby 35
When We Come Back 38
Kitchener's Boys 39
Violets 42
My Mate 44
The Moors of Derrynane 46
Silver Shoon 48
After Many Moons 49
A. H. W., Killed in Action 50
The Return of the Migrants 52
Our Airmen 53
Sleeping and Waking  54
The Same To-Day 55
Spring Twilight 56
To One Whose Lover has been "Killed in Action" 57
Drifting 58
Sheffield 59
The Sea at Night 60
The Shielin' by the Sea 61
The Call of the Heath 63
Love's Boundary 64
The Lure of God 65
A Prayer  67
Youth and Age 68
The Open Moor 69
A Song of Battle 71
Spring Sadness 73
Khaki Coats 74
When the Boys Come Home 75
The Second Battle of Arras 77