The Silent Camp

In heaven, a pale uncertain star,
    Through sullen vapour peeps,
On earth, extended wide and far,
In all the symmetry of war,
    A weary army sleeps.

The heavy-hearted pall of night
    Obliterates the lines,
Save where a dying camp-fire’s light
Leaps up and flares, a moment bright,
    Then once again declines.

Black, solemn peace is brooding low,
    Peace, still unbroken, when
There comes a sound, an ebb and flow—
The steady breathing, deep and slow,
    Of half-a-million men.

The pregnant dawn is drawing nigh,
    The dawn of power or pain;
But now, beneath the mournful sky,
In sleep’s maternal arms they lie
    Like children once again. 

This poem is in the public domain.