The Corner

Joyce Kilmer Fan Club

A week or so ago I mentioned the poet Joyce Kilmer, who wrote “Trees” (“I

think that I shall never see / A poem lovely as a tree…”) and died a

hero’s death in WW1.

Well, a reader has alerted me to this website and pointed out the strong Catholic imagery in many of Kilmer’s poems.

Look at this one, for example — I imagine Mel Gibson would enjoy it.

Prayer of a Soldier in France

My shoulders ache beneath my pack

(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).

I march with feet that burn and smart

(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).

Men shout at me who may not speak

(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).

I may not lift a hand to clear

My eyes of salty drops that sear.

(Then shall my fickle soul forget

Thy agony of Bloody Sweat?)

My rifle hand is stiff and numb

(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).

Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me

Than all the hosts of land and sea.

So let me render back again

This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.


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