This poem was inspired by British First World War poet Isaac Rosenberg, killed in action in 1918. I originally put “To Isaac Rosenberg” under the title, but removed it because it would suggest the dead soldier WAS Isaac Rosenberg, and the circumstances of the soldier’s death in this poem do not match Rosenberg’s.
THE DEAD SOLDIER
Green grows the grass where died my friend,
Darkly shade the trees
Over the hill you sought, my friend,
Where you’d have seen the seas.
Among the rest you lie, my friend,
With language, love and shape;
They’re buried when you die, my friend,
And bitter grows the grape.
The trees have tumbled down, my friend,
The blood runs down the hill.
They’ve fought another fight, my friend,
The triumph of the Will.
The breeze comes off the sea, my friend,
The trees will rise and spread.
The air will make us free, my friend.
Shall it raise the dead?
Copyright Simon Banks 2012