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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 3 (June 1, 1939)

The Drum

The Drum.

When drum beats loud and trumpets blow,
And gaily down the city street
In bright array the soldiers go
With rhythmic tread of marching feet,
Then every sluggish pulse is stirred,
Dead dreams of conquest rise again,
And we forget our spoken word
And raise our songs in martial strain.
So I would have the soldiers come—
Not bright and trim, with spurs agleam,
With streaming flag and throbbing drum,
Bold heroes of an outworn dream;
But I would have them worn and spent,
And staggering by as racked with pain—
With bandaged limbs and tunics rent
And garments splashed with crimson stain.
And I would build a splendid fire
Upon the city's topmost hill
And burn the drum, whose notes inspire
Our thoughtless hearts to maim and kill.
And all the warlike songs we sing—
The bugle that but flaunts our shame—
The spurs and medals. I would fling
Within that sacrificial flame.
And I would furl the flag, that we
At last should know how wars may end,
And man ‘neath other flags may be
No less our brother and our friend.

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