The Soldier and a Child

The Soldier and a Child

I am a weary soldier, cold and bent,
A dark and heavy cloud bends down my head.
A child I passed who called before I went:
I halted, breathless, held by what she said.
As light, unbreaking chains her words had shone;
As calling me from hard and blackened sleep,
It taught me that I should not walk alone;
I drew my heart from shadow dank and deep
And gave it in an answer to her there.

A moving mask my face with trouble lined
Spilled death stained breath that mingled with the air,
And gladness sprang of love and likeness kind.
Her glistening hair, my thornwood stick, we talked
A while in quiet thoughts of burning truth:
Our family fighting fear where slaves had walked,
Friends kept in shining eyes with humble ruth.
And long we stood and spoke of good that war
Cannot defeat while soldiers meet it more.

 – Patrick Lauser

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