Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - The God Who Waits

"The God Who Waits" by Leslie Coulson First published in London in November 1917 and reprinted in February 1918 The Muse in Arms comprised, in the words of editor E. B. Osborne:

"A collection of war poems, for the most part written in the field of action, by seamen, soldiers, and flying men who are serving, or have served, in the Great War".

Below is one of seventeen poems featured within the Moods and Memories section of the collection.

You can access other poems within the section via the sidebar to the right.

The God Who Waits
by Leslie Coulson

The old men in the olden days,
Who thought and worked in simple ways,
Believed in God and sought His praise.

They looked to God in daily need,
He shone in simple, homely deed;
They prayed to Him to raise their seed.

He sowed on mountain side and weald,
He steered the plough across the field,
He garnered in their harvest yield.

And if He gave them barren sod,
Or smote them with His lightning rod,
They yielded humbly to their God.

They searched the record of their days
To find and mend their evil ways,
Which made the wrath of God to blaze.

And if no evil they could find,
They did not say, "Our God is blind,"
"God's will be done," they said, resigned.

So played the old their humble part,
And lived in peace of soul and heart,
Without pretence of Reason's art.

But we have lost their simple creed
Of simple aim and simple need,
Of simple thought and simple deed.

Their creed has crumbled as their dust,
We do not yield their God as just,
Now question holds the place of trust.

Faith blossomed like the Holy Rod,
So grew the old men's faith in God.
We cannot tread the path they trod.

We were not born to anchored creed
That measures good and evil deed -
A guide to those who guidance need.

The God the old men hearkened to
We left, and in our image drew
And fashioned out a God anew.

That iron God, who still unfed,
Sits throned with lips that dribble red
Among the sacrificial dead.

Belching their flames between the bars,
Our fires sweep out like scimitars
Across the Eden of the stars.

And souls are sold and souls are bought,
And souls in hellish tortures wrought
To feed the mighty juggernaut.

The dripping wheels go roaring by
And crush and kill us where we lie
Blaspheming God with our last cry.

Man's cry to man the heaven fills;
We hear not in our marts and mills
The silent voices of the hills

The message of the breathing clay,
Calling us through the night and day
To come away, to come away!

For though old creeds, had we the will,
We cannot, lacking faith, fulfil,
The God above all creed waits still.

For still beyond the city gate,
The fallow fields eternal wait
For us to drive our furrow straight.

'Alleyman' was British slang for a German soldier.

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