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Dr. John McCrae (1872-1918)

The Pilgrims


              1An uphill path, sun-gleams between the showers,
              2    Where every beam that broke the leaden sky
              3Lit other hills with fairer ways than ours;
              4    Some clustered graves where half our memories lie;
              5And one grim Shadow creeping ever nigh:
              6        And this was Life.

              7Wherein we did another's burden seek,
              8    The tired feet we helped upon the road,
              9The hand we gave the weary and the weak,
            10    The miles we lightened one another's load,
            11When, faint to falling, onward yet we strode:
            12        This too was Life.

            13Till, at the upland, as we turned to go
            14    Amid fair meadows, disky in the night,
            15The mists fell back upon the road below;
            16    Broke on our tired eyes the western light;
            17The very graves were for a moment bright:
            18        And this was Death.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Lieut.-Col. John McCrae, M.D., In Flanders Fields and Other Poems, With An Essay in Character By Sir Andrew Macphail (Toronto: William Briggs; New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1919): 40-41. PS 8474 C715 1919 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1919
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/4

Rhyme: ababbd efeffd ghghhi


Other poems by Dr. John McCrae