Sydney Walter Josland
ON AN ITALIAN BAMBINO INJURED BY A GRENADE
Not from force of arms in mortal conflict,
Nor yet from the leaden and bitter skies
Your wounds; for that is a fair price to pay;
Whoever the cold angry steel unsheathes
Fortune’s hostage and sacrifice becomes.
Your milky flesh the jagged steel surrounds
With a solicitude that in depth vies
With the tears and agony of her, who
Once in the pangs of birth did strain and moan
Even as you now; This reward is yours
Not from choice. Comprehending it not
A seeming toy you laughingly possessed;
A toy conceived of mans’ devilish mind,
To wound, maim, blind, or better to destroy.
The very knife which now your soft flesh sears
Probes into the quick of our uncouth souls;
These if we believe what our prophets teach
Can be saved; but not your steel shattered flesh
Its scars will yield. Would yesterday could come
Again, your bomb ragged wounds to restore.
©Copyright Vasto, Italy, April 1945 by Sydney Walter Josland