The Red Cross Spirit Speaks

Wherever war, with its red woes,
Or flood, or fire, or famine goes,
There, too, go I;
If earth in any quarter quakes
Or pestilence its ravage makes,
Thither I fly.

I kneel behind the soldier's trench,
I walk 'mid shambles' smear and stench,
The dead I mourn;
I bear the stretcher and I bend
O'er Fritz and Pierre and Jack to mend
What shells have torn.

I go wherever men may dare,
I go wherever woman's care
And love can live,
Wherever strength and skill can bring
Surcease to human suffering,
Or solace give.

I helped upon Haldora's shore;
With Hospitaller Knights I bore
The first red cross;
I was the Lady of the Lamp;
I saw in Solferino's camp
The crimson loss.

I am your pennies and your pounds;
I am your bodies on their rounds
Of pain afar;
I am you, doing what you would
If you were only where you could --
Your avatar.

The cross which on my arm I wear,
The flag which o'er my breast I bear,
Is but the sign
Of what you'd sacrifice for him
Who suffers on the hellish rim
Of war's red line.

By:  John Finley


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