The Voice of Ypres…

The Voice of Ypres

(The City of Ypres speaks)

Grim Bride of War, gaunt, desolate, I stand in pale and
spectral state
Above my many tortured dead, a Princess of the realms
of Hate.
My shell-wrecked towers raise shattered might against
the flashing flames of night,
And round their feet writhes poison-gas in sepentine
delight.

From those tall towers no longer swells the clanging
melody of bells;
Their old forms quake at the great shock and thunder
of the bursting shells.
The fields that lie beyond the towers bear no bright
coverlet of flowers,
But on their clammy breasts the slain sleep through un-
ending hours.

Where gold moons shone on purple clover, nought now
may searching man discover
But stiffened, pallid, earth-stained hands of many a
stricken battle-lover.
And through this dark, foul-scented place that haunting
wraiths of evil grace,
There nightly stalks the shape of Death with green and
ghastly face.

Behind my thousand storied years that dimly gleam
through veils of tears,
Always agape with lust of blood that cruel Visage
mocks and leers.
And I –I laugh in ancient pride that Death-in-Battle,
sulphur-eyed,
Took Ypres, the City of Crimson Sin, to be his far-
feared Bride.

–Peregrine Acland

—–
From Pearson’s Magazine, edited by Frank Harris.  October 1918.  Page 330.

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