"Ave Maria"
Edwin Greenslade (Dryblower) Murphy

 

They dragged me out of No Man's Land. 

The earth and sky have ceased to reel;

I've felt the sister's steady hand,

I've felt the surgeon's steadier steel.

I'm beat with bullet, shocked with shell,

A thousand tortures with me toyed;

Yet like our happy marriage bell

I hear your voice across the void.

O, Mary, namesake of the saint,

A hundred million men revere,

I hear tonight, afar and faint - 
       
"Ave Maria,  Ave Maria!"

 

I hear it as you sang it first

Within our little Aussie home;

I hear it in the shrapnel burst

And bombs that drop from out the dome.

Sacredly-sweet it floats again

From out your soul full-throated flung,

When life had not a pang or pain

And we and all the world were young.

You sang because you loved to sing.

The angels sure must hover near,

When sweet your flute-notes rise and ring -

        "Ave Maria,  Ave Maria!"

 

Soft handed sisters touch my own

In passing where I lonely lie,

And close my ears unto the groan

Of dear old comrades soon to die.

And in a church-yard near the wards,

A peasant French girl sings to me

Of homely gardens, lakes and swards,

That I again shall never see.

But while she's singing to the sun,

One song alone I wish to hear -

        "Ave Maria,  Ave Maria!"

 

They tell me I will never see,

My wife, my babies or the world;

That I in Stygian dark shall be,

Until the judgements fiat's hurled.

They tell me vision shall not come

To me until God lifts His light,

Where there shall be no battle drum

And man shall not his fellow smite.

But you shall take me by the hand

And make confusing pathways clear,

While storm-swept souls shall understand

        "Ave Maria,  Ave Maria!"

 

When I have left the transport's side,

Back, back again within the West,

When I have clasped my bonny bride

And babies to my broken breast,

Then shall I by the sleepy Swan,

Ask it again of you, dear heart,

As when our sweetheart sunbeams shone,

And we were joined no more to part;

So when the world casts off its gyves,

Though sightless I shall happy hear

The hymn of our united lives -

        "Ave Maria,  Ave Maria!"

 

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