White flabbiness goes brown and lean,
Dumpling arms are now brass bars,
They’ve learnt to suffer and live clean,
And to think below the stars.
They’ve steeled a tender, girlish heart,
Tempered it with a man’s pride,
Learning to play the butcher’s part
Though the woman screams inside—
Learning to leap the parapet,
Face the open rush, and then
To stab with the stark bayonet,
Side by side with fighting men.
On Achi Baba’s rock their bones
Whiten, and on Flanders’ plain,
But of their travailings and groans
Poetry is born again.