Ye shall be here that ye may see with your own
eyes what is achieved this day, and have no occasion,
when ye shall afterward celebrate these actions in
song, to depend upon the reports of others.
KING OLAF to his Skalds,
Battle of Stiklastad, 1030 A. D
The haggard staff who planned the planless battle,
The G. I. 's, their wry wit and salty prattle,
You knew them at their simple best and worst.
The shriek of shell, the cataclysmic burst
That gutted homes and drove out folk like cattle;
The fierce machinegun's far ecstatic rattle,
Scything in crimson dew some field accursed -
In all war's woes how keenly were you versed!
Holding your penman's calling something holier
Than even its trust of high democracy,
Self-proffered to swift death, slow wound, or capture,
You suffered no less nobly than a soldier
The fighter's risk, without his battle rapture,
That all might know, through you, his gallantry.
From Let the Glory Go, © Paul Scott Mowrer, 1955