There are tears and wails in the old brown house
On the hillside steep today,
Though the sunlight gleams on the outer world
There the clouds drift cold and gray.
"Only one man killed," is the tidings read,
"Our loss was trifling; we triumphed," 'twas said --
And only here in the home on the hill
Did the words breathe aught but of triumph still.
They had watched and waited, had prayed and wept,
These loving hearts by the cottage hearth,
And the hope was strong that their darling would walk
Unscathed and safe mid the battle's wrath.
They would have gladly shielded his life from ill,
But their trust was all in their Father's will;
They had felt so sure his love would save
The pride of their heart from a soldier's grave.
Now his wisdom has ordered what most they feared,
And their hearts are crushed by the news today,
"Only one man killed," so the telegram reads --
But for them life's beauty has passed away,
And all the glory and triumph gained
Seems a matter small to the woe blood-stained,
That was in sorrowful strokes, like a tolling bell,
Throbs "Only one man killed," as a funeral knell.
"Only one man killed," -- so we read full oft,
And rejoice that the loss on our side was small;
Forgetting meanwhile that some loving heart
Felt all the force of that murderous ball.
"Only one man was killed," comes again and again;
One hero more among the martyred lain;
"Only one man killed," carries sorrow for life
To those whose darlings fall in strife.
The Home Front