Witnessing Edith Cavell, 1915
When the Germans occupied Belgium at the start of WWI,
Edith Cavell was the Matron of a hospital. She treated all
casualties from both sides of the conflict, but secretly helped
Allied troops return to their own lines. Found out, she was
court-martialed and shot. She is buried in the grounds
of Norwich Cathedral.
The woman overwhelmed his memory:
His only course remaining was to write
How as an army chaplain history
Forced itself upon him when human spite
Dressed up in uniform had no answer
To integrity but a firing squad.
Head, heart met four bullets—she’d not defer
To arrogance; her measure lay with God.
The young men cast in military poses
Might soon be dead themselves, no one could tell . . .
Staff at her hospital ten weeks before
The trial had sent her in a bunch of roses
That she cherished, even when they fell
As withered petals on the prison floor.