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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 Rebel > The Marshal (1951)

The Marshal (1951)

Published by Webmaster on 07/29/2003 (3607 reads)
The Marshal now is very old

The Marshal

The Marshal now is very old,
Wellnigh a hundred, I am told.
Gallieni, Joffre, Foch have gone,
Yet stubbornly he lingers on,
Writing his Memoris, so they say. . . .
Oh! Will he tell us of the day,
With all our love at his command
    He shook a felon's hand!

Let History appraise his blame,
Judge if he played a traitor's game -
My mind goes back to that dark day
I fought in Verdun's bloody fray
And saw the cannon-fodder tossed
Into its hideous holocaust;
Until one regiment went red
    And from the battle fled.

They say that from a thousand men
The Marshall picked out one in ten,
And ruthlessly, upon the spot,
He lined them up and had them shot;
And then to certain doom he sent
The remnant of the regiment. . . .
Well, maybe what he did was right,
    For soldiers have to fight.

The Marshall, with a single breath,
Could launch ten thousand men to death,
And for some questionable gain
Would carpet sunny fields with slain.
And now a dotard in his cell,
Undaunted by no earthly hell,
Maybe he sees, when memory jogs,
    The boys he shot like dogs.

Yet not he Marshall's be the blame
For all the shambles and the shame;
Let us all share the blood guilt for
In greed and jealousy is War;
And let us dream a golden time
When pride of race be held a crime,
And freedom's flag in peace unfurled
    Proclaim ONE WORLD.

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