Thursday, February 17, 2011

Alfred Joyce Kilmer

Alfred was a noted American poet who was killed in action during WW1. For more info click here.

The follow poem was written by Alfred himself.

Prayer of a Soldier in France (1918)
My shoulders ache beneath my pack 
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back). 
I march with feet that burn and smart 
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).
Men shout at me who may not speak 
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).
I may not lift a hand to clear 
My eyes of salty drops that sear.
(Then shall my fickle soul forget 
Thy Agony of Bloody Sweat?)
My rifle hand is stiff and numb 
(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).
Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me 
Than all the hosts of land and sea.
So let me render back again
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.

That poem can be found here.
I think that this poem is describing the pain that he goes through as a soldier in the Great War. But at the end of the poem, he seems more grateful than i would originally appear. For most of the burdens he describes, he compares it to the burdens that were born to the cross. "My shoulders ache beneath my pack/(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back)."  This line shows that he is able to find joy in all the pain he goes through.

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