Ici Repose (Here Lies)

A little cross of weather-silvered wood,

Hung with a garish wreath of tinselled wire,

And on it carved a legend—thus it runs:

‘Ici Repose’—Add what name you will

And multiply by thousands: in the fields,

Along the roads, beneath the trees—one here,

A dozen there, to each its simple tale

Of one more jewel threaded star-like on

The sacrificial rosary of France.

~ ~ ~

And as I read and read again those words,

Those simple words, they took a mystic sense;

And from the glamour of an alien tongue

They wove insistent music in my brain.

Which, in a twilight hour, when all the guns

Were silent, shaped itself to song …

Bernard Freeman Trotter

Born: 16 June 1890 (Toronto)

Served in the British Army

Killed in Action: 7 May 1917 (France)

Buried: Mazingarbe Military Cemetery

The manuscript of this, his last, poem reached his parents the day after he was killed.

~ ~ ~