Fights in the open, and fights in the air--
Battles on billows, and battles below;
The whole world hears of them--all men know
The story of heroes who do and dare.
But few know the battles that have to be won
After the strife at the Front is done.
I weave my laurel, and give my praise
To the soldier who lies on his hospital cot,
And batters away with the bullets of thought
At his fierce foe 'Pain,' through the nights and the days--
Through the weeks and the months: and who will not yield,
But drives his enemy out of the field.
For I hold it is harder to lie in your bed
And stare at a ceiling, and four dull walls,
Than to fight in the open, where sunlight falls,
And with God's big Universe over your head.
And the soldier in bed must keep ever in drill
With the great machine-gun of the human will.
He must fire away, till an answer is given;
And Forces Invisible come to his aid.
For these are God's Camps, where earth's heroes are made;
And hard is the training at Camp Twenty-Seven!
Three cheers for the fighters, whose courage and faith
Have overcome anguish and driven off Death.
Poems of affection. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1920.
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