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Catalog Number 1938.100.43
Object Name Poem
Accession number 1938.100
Description Poem

Full transcription of text follows:

Page 1

Afterwards

[Written by Private Cyril M. Hannagan, Battery D, 149th Field Artillery, American Expeditionary Forces, while a patient at Base Hospital No. 23 ("The Nouvel", Vittel, Vosges, France), and given to Miss Eleanor E. McGee, the Red Cross worker at that hospital. Private Hannagan was returned to duty after his recovery from his wounds and not long after was killed in action.)] When War's last thunder dies, And we, who made the thunder, cleanse our hands, Desert the guns and raise our weary eyes From these untended fields to peaceful lands And clear, unclouded skies; Saying, the work is finished, Freedom stands With Liberty, saved by our sacrifice. When all this comes to be-For even this great vision will come true, What will you do, you who will then be free By virtue of our pain? What will you do? Will you come here with silly zeal, To walk about the place where we died? And mumble foolish words and gaping, stare At ruins rendered holy by our steel; And laughing, point to broken houses where Unnumbered gallant men have bled and died? Will you, with guide and guide-book come to gaze Upon these mighty places, as you come To scatter scraps along the ways That are the soul of grief and memories at home? Will you stand upon these hills now racked with war, And look across these valleys that will be So green and tranquil then, and never see With your weak eyes our long ranks rush and roar In furious battle? Will you never say To your own secret heart that all these true And noble men who suffered agony, Did splendid deeds and laid their lives away, Did all these things for you? Is that what you will do? Or,- shall you come in silence and alone, To walk with reverence through the fields and find The fading signs that trace out where we stood, The long since crumbled trenches, overgrown With weeds and grass that murmur in the wind, The rotting shelter in the empty wood That hid our flashing guns; and roam the town of shattered homes, and humbly come at last To one of those still havens of our dead, Those temples of the fighter who has passed, Where rows of crosses, rising, take the light, And there, with bended head, Stand quietly, paying homage in the night? When our great dream of Peace comes true, Which shall you do?

From the service of Eleanor McGee, American Red Cross nurse at Base Hospital # 23 "The Nouvel" located in Vittel, Vosges, France from 1918-1919 (?).
Date n.d.
Year Range from 1918
Year Range to 1919
Subjects Poetry
World War I