The Soldier’s Kiss

The Soldier’s Kiss

Only a dying horse!  Pull off the gear,
And slip the needless bit from frothing jaws,
Drag it aside there, leave the roadway clear –
The battery thunders on with scarce a pause.

Prone by the shell-swept highway there it lies
With quivering limbs, as fast the life tide fails,
Dark films are closing o’er the faithful eyes
That mutely plead for aid where none avails.

Onward the battery roll, but one there speeds,
Heedless of comrad’s voice or bursting shell,
Back to the wounded friend who lonely bleeds
Beside the stony highway where it fell.

Only a dying horse!  He swiftly kneels,
Lifts the limp head and hears the shivering sigh
Kisses his friend, while down his cheek there steals
Sweet pity’s tear, “Goodbye, Old Man, Goodbye”.

No honours wait him, medal, badge or star,
Thought scarce could war a kindlier deed unfold;
He bears within his breast, more precious far
Beyond the gift of kings, a heart of gold.

Henry Chappell

5 comments

  1. Ellen Kammermayer · ·

    Come to see this image in bronze along with other tributes to Animals in War at Confederation Park in downtown Ottawa. The dedication ceremony on 3 Nov 2012 was poignant and dignified and the memorial will be a lasting remembrance of the contribution of the many animals that served in too many wars…
    Ellen Kammermayer

  2. Beautiful, and horrifying, as war itself is.
    Thank you for posting.

  3. wietrich jeannine · ·

    JE SUIS POUR LE BIEN ETRE DES ANIMAUX ET NON POUR LA MALTRAITANCE !!!

  4. lindabadham · ·

    very touching and very true. animals should be remembered too along side their masters who died in service, anywhere on this planet !

  5. All too true,
    these sad words,
    his fallen comrade,
    his mighty steed :*(

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