Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
"O mother! What do they mean by blue?
And what do they mean by gray?"
I heard from the lips of a little child
As she bounded in from her play.
The mother’s eyes were filled with tears;
She turned to her darling fair
And smoothed away from the sunny brow
The treasure of golden hair.
"Why, mother’s eyes are blue, my sweet,
And grandpa’s hair is gray,
And the love we bear our darling child
Grows stronger every day."
"For what do they mean?" maintained the child,
"For I saw two cripples to-day,
And one of them said he had ‘fought for the blue,’
The other had ‘fought for the gray.’
"The one of the blue had lost a leg,
And the other had but one arm,
And both seemed worn and weary and sad,
Yet their greeting was kind and warm,
They told of the battles in days gone by
Till it made my blood run chill,
The leg was lost in the Wilderness fight
And the arm on Malvern Hill.
"They sat on the stone by the farmyard gate
And talked for an hour or more,
Till their eyes grew bright and their hearts seemed warm
With fighting their battles o’er;
And parted at last with a friendly grasp,
In a kindly, brotherly way,
Each asking God to speed the time
Uniting the blue and the gray."
Then the mother thought of other days,
Two stalwart boys from her riven;
How they’d knelt at her side, and, lisping, prayed:
"Our Father, who art in heaven;"
How one wore the gray and the other the blue,
How they passed away from sight
And had gone to the land where gray and blue
Merge in tints of celestial light.
And she answered her darling with golden hair,
While her heart was sorely wrung
With thoughts awakened in that sad hour
By her innocent, prattling tongue;
"The blue and the gray are the colors of God;
They are seen in the sky at even,
And many a noble, gallant soul
Has found them passports to heaven."