During this week of Veterans Day and Remembrance Day, I’d like to share a poem from World War 1.
In doing research for my novella, Julia’s Gifts, I found this beautiful and moving poem by Alfred Joyce Kilmer, entitled, “Prayer of a Soldier in France,” where Kilmer compares the soldier’s journey to Christ’s passion as a prayer for perseverance.
Prayer of a Soldier in France (1918)
My shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).
I march with feet that burn and smart
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).
Men shout at me who may not speak
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).
I may not lift a hand to clear
My eyes of salty drops that sear.
(Then shall my fickle soul forget
Thy Agony of Bloody Sweat?)
My rifle hand is stiff and numb
(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).
Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.
So let me render back again
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.