Poem of the Day.
THE CRICKETERS OF FLANDERS The first to climb the parapet With "cricket balls" in either hand; The first to vanish in the smoke Of God-forsaken No Man's Land; First at the wire and soonest through, First at those red-mouthed hounds of hell, The Maxims, and the first to fall,-- They do their bit and do it well. Full sixty yards I've seen them throw With all that nicety of aim They learned on British cricket-fields. Ah, bombing is a Briton's game! Shell-hole to shell-hole, trench, to trench, "Lobbing them over" with an eye As true as though it _were_ a game And friends were having tea close by. Pull down some art-offending thing Of carven stone, and in its stead Let splendid bronze commemorate These men, the living and the dead. No figure of heroic size, Towering skyward like a god; But just a lad who might have stepped From any British bombing squad. His shrapnel helmet set atilt, His bombing waistcoat sagging low, His rifle slung across his back: Poised in the very act to throw. And let some graven legend tell Of those weird battles in the West Wherein he put old skill to use, And played old games with sterner zest. Thus should he stand, reminding those In less-believing days, perchance, How Britain's fighting cricketers Helped bomb the Germans out of France. And other eyes than ours would see; And other hearts than ours would thrill; And others say, as we have said: "A sportsman and a soldier still!" _James Norman Hall_
(Friday, 21 September, 2018.)