Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Poems of the First World War

"Carol for Christmas 1914" by Henry Lionel Field  
Henry Lionel Field featured in the exhibition of Poets of the Somme which was held in July 2016 at The Wilfred Owen Story museum in Birkenhead, Wirral, UK.    Henry joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme - 1st July 1916.   He was buried in Serre Road Cemetery No. 2, Beaumont Hamel et Hebuterne, Somme, Nord Pas de Calais, France.
On a dark midnight such as this,
Nearly two thousand years ago,
Three kings looked out towards the East,
Where a single star shone low.

Shepherds were sleeping in the fields,
When the hosts of Heaven above them sang:
“Peace upon earth, goodwill towards men”,
And the deeps in answering cadence rang.

Low in the manger poor and cold,
Lay Mary with her new-born child,
Scarce sheltered from the bitter blast
That whistled round them shrill and wild.

Be with them Lord in camp and field,
Who guard our ancient name to-night.
Hark to the cry that rises now,
Lord, maintain us in our right.

Be with the dying, be with the dead,
Sore-stricken far on alien ground,
Be with the ships on clashing seas,
That gird our island kingdom round.

Through barren nights and fruitless days
Of waiting when our faith grows dim
Mary be with the stricken heart,
Thou has a son, remember him.

Lord, Thou has been our refuge sure,
The Everlasting Arms are wide,
They words from age to age endure,
They loving care will still provide.

Vouchsafe that we may see, dear Lord,
Vouchsafe that we may see,
Thy purpose through the aching days,
And may our prayers be heard.

From "Poems and Drawings", published by Cornish, Birmingham in 1917.

Henry also features in the book of the exhibition - pp. 19 - 20.