(From Twilight Clear)

We were lost in spree of a grisly sea
In the dusk off Fundy's Bay,
When a worn screw broke on our groggy boat
With Newfoundland in the way.

Or we fought the Big Blow around the Horn
With our mainyards smashing free,
But the pounding tons of that witches' night
Pried our stalwart hatches three.

Or we smelled the stink of the China Sink
Where we calmed off Charlotte Bank,
Where that yellow burst hit us broadside first,
And heart gave a scream, and sank.

We went drifting far on a soapy spar
To a bastard sampan's yell,
With a boom and flare and a curdled prayer
For that voyage we took through hell.

Or we knew the feel of the Tamil's steel
When the Vennar's flood swirled high,
And we dared the suck of the slobber muck
In the Mekong's human sty.

Oft we tightened belt at Martaban's head
For the death flats of Malay,
And we gazed from Rass, on Gamin Pass
On our final Kashmir day.

We had stomached the milk of the Khirgiz mares,
We had slept on Gobi's wastes,
We had fled the roar of the scrofa boar,
We had learned how broundou tastes.

We had seen the eyes of the Sirdir's prize
Where she screamed at flaming stake,
But she spilled our lives to the pooga knives
For her boss, the Khoond god's sake.

Or we prayed for sun and the day begun
Where the low palms fringed the sky.
And the thin-nosed Kird, with a sacred word,
Made his pact that we should die.

But we cut through night and raced like light
Where the fakirs yowl and swirl,
To be first in race and death-hound chase
For love of that Biskra girl.

Oh, the sweep and stride of the world was wide
And the sea's great spread was green,
Where we beat the wind as the Jap flak dinned
On the wings of gasoline.

And we yanked the stick of the Saber quick
Where the height the blood congealed,
To shoot down steep for a million feet
For Splash in a paddy-field.

But the war's Red Track and the Long Way Back
Were the wages paid for Love.
For the heart taut-nerved and the flag well-served,
And the lambent Tryst Above!

Do you say we "died" in our dauntless youth
As our deaths we met at Noon?
We declare we answered the Roll-Call High
To Reveille's sweeter rune.

But we're coming back for the pay we lack,
In all earth-lives yet to be;
When you'll meet our wage on a different page
Than the ledgers earth-eyes see!

For we met the challenge of Life with Pain,
And Iearned to be hard and staid;
To be Giant Lads, in the High Clan's plaids,
From the heights of the Unafraid!

Oh, you can't crush Youth in the Press of Life
And not give it Courage cold;
And you can't put lads on the Strong Men's jobs
And not make them adult Bold.

They'll be Coming Back, in new Dreams of Youth,
In the roles of Master Twelves,
To disclose to earth the great Judgment stark,

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