In wiser days, my darling rosebud, blown To beauty proud as was your mother's prime, In that desired, delayed, incredible time, You'll ask why I abandoned you, my own, And the dear heart that was your baby throne, To dice with death. And, oh! they'll give you rhyme And reason; some will call the thing sublime, And some decry it in a knowing tone. So here, while the mad guns curse overhead, And tired men sigh, with mud for couch and floor, Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead, Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor, But for a dream, born in a herdsman's shed, And for the secret Scripture of the poor.
Written in the field before Guillemont, Somme, on 4 September 1916, by Lieutenant Thomas Michael [Tom] Kettle, 9th Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 16th (Irish) Division. Killed in action, 9 September 1916.