The world wakes with a chip on its shoulder –
Reluctantly. Too chill, too soon
Between cold clouds the stars grow colder.
By the light of a cruel, one-eyed moon
The iced ribbon of road runs into the sky,
As merciless day cracks open:
A grudging window of heavy-lidded grey.
Now soft night shatters; sleep is broken.
Rooted in earth, black trees stand, darkly
Bearing the weight of recrucified Christ.
Suspended from stars, stiff branches hang starkly
On thousands of Calvaries where soldiers have diced,
On thousands of mountains where troop tanks have rolled,
In thousands of valleys where armies have moved
To thousands of Bethlehems where peasants untold
Have given up first-born and babes they have loved.
Kyrie eleison! O, deliver the war-torn.
O when will be your true morn?
O bring us your new dawn.
© Lizzie Ballagher
This poem has been set to music by composer Simon Mold as part of a 100th anniversary World War 1 commemorative requiem mass. It was performed in various UK venues in 2014 and in 2015 and is now recorded by Amemptos Music Ltd
on the album A Treble’s Voice sung by Oliver Barton.