On a little-known poem of the First World War
Marjorie Pickthall (1883-1922) was Canadian, although she was born in London. She was regarded by some as the greatest Canadian poet of her generation, and her short poem ‘Marching Men’ is a moving religiously inspired response to the sacrifice being made by thousands of men every week in the First World War.
Under the level winter sky
I saw a thousand Christs go by.
They sang an idle song and free
As they went up to Calvary.
Careless of eye and coarse of lip,
They marched in holiest fellowship.
That heaven might heal the world, they gave
Their earth-born dreams to deck the grave.