Joyce Kilmer, American poet, was killed by a sniper bullet July 30th, 1918 while serving his country in France.
To honor him, and all who have died to preserve freedom, I would like to share one of his poems, “Prayer of a Soldier in France”.
This beautiful poem always reminds me of what others have sacrificed, while also suggesting a way that I may seek, in some small manner, to imitate their courage, and perhaps in so doing, offer a better tribute to them than that of a simple thank you.
“Prayer of a Soldier in France”
Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)
My shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).
I march with feet that burn and smart
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).
Men shout at me who may not speak
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).
I may not lift a hand to clear
My eyes of salty drops that sear.
(Then shall my fickle soul forget
Thy agony of Bloody Sweat?)
My rifle hand is stiff and numb
(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).
Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.
So let me render back again
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.