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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918

Thy Ward

Thy Ward.

When, in the darkened glow of sleep-hushed
wards, From out the swathed depths, the Harp of Pain
Thrills 'neath thy woman-touch in unguessed chords,
And fills Thy vigil with a sad refrain,
O Sister! then it is that angels bend,
And countless mothers, sisters, rev'rently
Would kneel to share Thy ministry, to blend
Their sympathy in tenderness of Thee.

And, in Thy privilege alike to play
On human keys of anguish, weak, or strong,
To tune, to melodies of rest, away
The hot delirium of the nights drawn-long,
'Tis, Sister, that a Mother too Thou art,
Of hand-press cool o'er many a fevered brow,
Of gentle croon to many a'pain-wrung heart,
Of pity trained to many a selfless vow.

For in the mutt'rings of unrestful sleep,
The curses of the raving, and the fear
Of nerve-wracked weaklings, and the strong man's 'weep',
Unto Thy deeper ken, a note rings clear;
A trem'lous note of strife, of nights of hell,
Of heroes found, and lost, of wheels of pain,
Of darkness,silence, slit by thund'rous shell,
And blood-waves ebbing, but to surge again.

And for this note 'tis fitting, when Thy arms
In peace and hush hold aftermath of storm,
And suff'rers start no more in dread alarms,
When furtive-watch sees but Thy tending form,
O Sister! that Thy woman-gift should raise
Athwart each robe of pain the subtle hem
Of mem'ry threads, far-spun in other days
By gentle hands as Thine, more dear to them.