John McCrae

The Warrior

He wrought in poverty, the dull grey days,
    But with the night his little lamp-lit room
Was bright with battle flame, or through a haze
    Of smoke that stung his eyes he heard the boom
Of Bluecher's guns; he shared Almeida's scars,
    And from the close-packed deck, about to die,
Looked up and saw the "Birkenhead"'s tall spars
    Weave wavering lines across the Southern sky:

Or in the stifling 'tween decks, row on row,
    At Aboukir, saw how the dead men lay;
        Charged with the fiercest in Busaco's strife,
Brave dreams are his — the flick'ring lamp burns low —
    Yet couraged for the battles of the day
        He goes to stand full face to face with life.