Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - The Barrier

"The Barrier" by Colwyn Philipps First published in London in November 1917 and reprinted in February 1918 The Muse in Arms comprised, in the words of editor E. B. Osborne:

"A collection of war poems, for the most part written in the field of action, by seamen, soldiers, and flying men who are serving, or have served, in the Great War".

Below is one of eleven poems featured within the Loving and Living section of the collection.

You can access other poems within the section via the sidebar to the right.

The Barrier
by Colwyn Philipps

A wall and gulf for ever lie between,
Not all that we may do through love or wit
Can quite avail to pull away the screen,
Nor yet succeed in bridging o'er the pit.
He knows the reason, He that ordered it,
Who bade us love but never understand.
He fixed the barrier as He saw fit,
And bade us yearn and still stretch forth the hand
Across the very sea He'd said should ne'er be spanned.
But sure this great and aching love of mine,
That ever yearns to know and to be known,
Can tear the veil that sometimes seems so fine
As though 'twere cobweb waiting but the blow
To fall asunder and for ever go.
E'en as I rise to strike, it is too late,
The cobwebs billow, thicken, seem to grow
To a thick wall with buttress tall and great.
I stand alone, a stranger at a city gate.

"Devil Dogs" was the nickname given to the U.S. Marines by the German Army.

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Muse in Arms

Loving and Living