THE WIFE OF FLANDERS
by: G.K. Chesterton
- OW and brown
barns, thatched and repatched and tattered,
- Where I had seven sons until to-day,
- A little hill of hay your spur has scattered ...
- This is not Paris. You have lost the way.
- You, staring at your sword to find it brittle,
- Surprised at the surprise that was your plan,
- Who, shaking and breaking barriers not a little,
- Find never more the death-door of Sedan--
- Must I for more than carnage call you claimant,
- Paying you a penny for each son you slay?
- Man, the whole globe in gold were no repayment
- For what you have lost. And how shall I repay?
- What is the price of that red spark that caught me
- From a kind farm that never had a name?
- What is the price of that dead man they brought me?
- For other dead men do not look the same.
- How should I pay for one poor graven steeple
- Whereon you shattered what you shall not know?
- How should I pay you, miserable people?
- How should I pay you everything you owe?
- Unhappy, can I give you back your honour?
- Though I forgave, would any man forget?
- While all the great green land has trampled on her
- The treason and terror of the night we met.
- Not any more in vengeance or in pardon
- An old wife bargains for a bean thats hers.
- You have no word to break: no heart to harden.
- Ride on and prosper. You have lost your spurs.
POEMS BY G.K. CHESTERTON
"The Wife of Flanders"
is reprinted from A Treasury of War Poetry. Ed. George
Herbert Clarke. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1917.