THE SWAN OF DIJON

I was in Dijon when the war's wild blast
Was at its loudest; when there was no sound
From dawn to dawn, save soldiers marching past,
Or rattle of their wagons in the street.
When every engine whistle would repeat
Persistently, with meaning tense, profound,
"We carry men to slaughter" or "we bring
Remnants of men back as war's offering."

And there in Dijon, the out-gazing eye
Grew weary of the strife-suggesting scene;
But, searching, found one quiet spot hard by
Where war was not; a little lake whereon
Moved leisurely a stately, tranquil swan,
Majestic and imposing, yet serene.

I was in Dijon, when no sound or sight
Woke thoughts of peace, save this one speck of white,
Sailing 'neath skies of menace, unafraid
While silver fountains for his pleasure played.
Dear Swan of Dijon, it was your good part
To rest a tired heart.

Hello, Boys! by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay and Hancock, 1919.


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