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This poem is often wrongly thought to be by Robert W Service. It is published here to the memory of Hugh Antoine D'Arcy, its rightful father.
An Evening with the Bard of the Yukon, July 18 th 2003 at 20.30pm in the Town-Hall of Lancieux, Brittany.
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Archives > Books and Poetry > Poetry > Rhymes of a Red Cross Man (1916) > Fleurette (The Wounded Canadian Speaks)

Fleurette (The Wounded Canadian Speaks)

Published by Susan on 07/23/2003 (9092 reads)
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My leg? It's off at the knee...

My leg? It's off at the knee.
Do I miss it? Well, some. You see
  I've had it since I was born;
  And lately a devilish corn.
(I rather chuckle with glee
  To think how I've fooled that corn.)

But I'll hobble around all right.
  It isn't that, it's my face.
Oh I know I'm a hideous sight,
  Hardly a thing in place;
Sort of gargoyle, you'd say.
  Nurse won't give me a glass,
  But I see the folks as they pass
Shudder and turn away;
  Turn away in distress . . .
  Mirror enough, I guess.

I'm gay! You bet I AM gay;
  But I wasn't a while ago.
If you'd seen me even to-day,
  The darndest picture of woe,
With this Caliban mug of mine,
  So ravaged and raw and red,
Turned to the wall -- in fine,
  Wishing that I was dead. . . .
What has happened since then,
  Since I lay with my face to the wall,
The most despairing of men?
  Listen! I'll tell you all.

That poilu across the way,
  With the shrapnel wound in his head,
Has a sister: she came to-day
  To sit awhile by his bed.
All morning I heard him fret:
  "Oh, when will she come, Fleurette?"

Then sudden, a joyous cry;
  The tripping of little feet,
The softest, tenderest sigh,
  A voice so fresh and sweet;
Clear as a silver bell,
  Fresh as the morning dews:
"C'est toi, c'est toi, Marcel!
  Mon fre^re, comme je suis heureuse!"

So over the blanket's rim
  I raised my terrible face,
And I saw -- how I envied him!
  A girl of such delicate grace;
Sixteen, all laughter and love;
  As gay as a linnet, and yet
As tenderly sweet as a dove;
  Half woman, half child -- Fleurette.

Then I turned to the wall again.
  (I was awfully blue, you see),
And I thought with a bitter pain:
  "Such visions are not for me."
So there like a log I lay,
  All hidden, I thought, from view,
When sudden I heard her say:
  "Ah! Who is that malheureux?"
Then briefly I heard him tell
  (However he came to know)
How I'd smothered a bomb that fell
  Into the trench, and so
None of my men were hit,
  Though it busted me up a bit.

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