Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - The Cross of Wood

"The Cross of Wood" by Cyril Winterbotham 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 seven poems featured within The Christian Soldier section of the collection.

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

The Cross of Wood
by Cyril Winterbotham

God be with you and us who go our way
And leave you dead upon the ground you won.
For you at last the long fatigue is done,
The hard march ended; you have rest to-day.

You were our friends; with you we watched the dawn
Gleam through the rain of the long winter night,
With you we laboured till the morning light
Broke on the village, shell-destroyed and torn.

Not now for you the glorious return
To steep Stroud valleys, to the Severn leas
By Tewkesbury and Gloucester, or the trees
Of Cheltenham under high Cotswold stern.

For you no medals such as others wear -
A cross of bronze for those approved brave -
To you is given, above a shallow grave,
The Wooden Cross that marks you resting there.

Rest you content; more honourable far
Than all the Orders is the Cross of Wood,
The symbol of self-sacrifice that stood
Bearing the God whose brethren you are.

'Case-Shot' was the name for a short-range artillery anti-personnel shell filled with pellets, chain-links, etc.

- Did you know?

Muse in Arms

Christian Soldier