I almost died in vain

In Normandy, where cider apples green,

Shell-falls lay, and only blood was red,

And friends, like children, played at being dead.

A bitter game for those who died in vain.

I almost died in vain,

Ere this decade of decadence was seen,

And Worse, I almost died in vanity

Thinking my death would benefit humanity.

Teutonic mirth mocks those who died in vain.

And how could I explain

To those who sacrificed their might-have-been,

Who died so proudly on a foreign shore,

That we should arm the Hun in ’54,

Ten fleeting years from when they died in vain.

And should a Shade remain,

Hovering, earth-close, near the scene

Of Hell-slow death in agonizing pain,

I’ll make my solemn promise to the slain

To carry on the fight, and not in vain.

Harry St. Vincent Beechey