Fires of Driftwood eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 58 pages of information about Fires of Driftwood.

The Reasons

They sat before a dugout
In the unfamiliar quiet of silenced guns. 
And one said: 
“Now that it’s over
What about a bit of truth? 
Let us say why we came to fight—­
No frills—­
You first, old Fire-eater!”—­

One with a whimsical face spoke freely;
“I?—­I sought some stir,
Some urge in living,
Some sense in dying. 
I sought a mountain top
With a view!”

“And the answer?”

“I have seen others find
What I sought.”

. . . . . . .

“I don’t know that it’s anyone’s business
Why I came,”
(Another spoke as if unwillingly),
“A girl laughed, I think—­
Funny?—­Yes, funny as hell!”—­

. . . . . . .

His neighbor said,
“I was a business man,
No sentiment,
Nothing of that kind,—­
But the band played
And, suddenly, I saw
My country,
A woman, with hands outstretched,
Her back to the wall—­”

“U—­um,” they nodded,
“She’s got a pull,
That old lady.”

. . . . . . .

“As for me,” the speaker was abrupt,
“I was afraid! 
I saw pictures,
I heard things—­
I couldn’t sleep
For the Beast that was abroad—­
That’s what brought me!”

. . . . . . .

They sat silent for a moment
In the sun. 
Then an older man said briefly,
“We were all afraid . . . . .
. . .  But what of hate? 
Did no one come because of hate?”

. . . . . . .

They looked at this man
But he added nothing,
And no one questioned.

. . . . . . .

A fresh-faced boy spoke modestly;
“Our family are all Army people—­
So, of course—­
And it’s all over now. 
We got through. 
But it was a near thing—­


To-day is a room
With windows upon one side
And upon the other
A door—­
Through the windows we may look
But cannot pass;
Through the door we must pass
But cannot look,
And there are no windows
Upon that side.


A year is a thief
Who comes in the guise of a friend
Saying, “Let us travel together,
We have much to give each other. 
See, I hold back nothing—­
For what is giving
Between friends?”

Yet when the year departs
He takes his gifts with him—­
“Oh, Robber!” we cry,
Aghast and weeping,
“Nay,” he replies, “I did but lend. 
Still, for your weeping, I will leave you something.

It is not the real thing
But you may keep it always.”


I see a spirit
Young and eager,
Beautiful, too, I think,
(Although I cannot see it clearly)
It is, by right of its own being,
One with all lovely, youthful things;
And they, its age-old kindred,
Welcome it
Saying, “Come, you too are one of us!”

Project Gutenberg
Fires of Driftwood from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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