In Memoriam

In Memoriam
Private D. Sutherland 
killed in action in the German trench, May 16, 1916,
and the others who died

So you were David’s father,

And he was your only son,
 
And the new-cut peats are rotting
 
And the work is left undone,

Because of an old man weeping,
 
Just an old man in pain,
 
For David, his son David,
 
That will not come again.

Oh, the letters he wrote you,
 
And I can see them still,
 
Not a word of the fighting,
 
But just the sheep on the hill
 
And how you should get the crops in
 
Ere the year get stormier, 
And the Bosches have got his body,
 
And I was his officer.

You were only David’s father,
 
But I had fifty sons
 
When we went up in the evening
 
Under the arch of the guns,
 
And we came back at twilight - 

O God! I heard them call
 
To me for help and pity
 
That could not help at all.

Oh, never will I forget you,
 
My men that trusted me,
 
More my sons than your fathers’,
For they could only see
 
The little helpless babies 

And the young men in their pride.
They could not see you dying,
 
And hold you while you died.

Happy and young and gallant,
 
They saw their first-born go,
 
But not the strong limbs broken
 
And the beautiful men brought low,
 
The piteous writhing bodies,
 
The screamed ‘Don’t leave me, Sir’,
 
For they were only your fathers
 
But I was your officer.
E. Alan Mackintosh

from A Highland Regiment (John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1917) 

E. Alan Mackintosh

The war poems of E. Alan Mackintosh are imbued with a sense of duty to his fellow soldiers and a deep sympathy for the sufferings of all the men at the Front.  

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