A plea for the extension of the benefits of the Geneva Convention to those relieving wounded horses on the battlefield.
Here long unhelped and helpless have I lain,
In agony that quite forbids me swoon;
Thro’ the cold night’s intolerable pain,
Thro’ thirst and torture of the burning noon.
Shot in the spine, I cannot move nor rise,
Dumb, shattered jaws are filled with blood and sand,
And fettered by a girth that none unties,
My poor swoll’n body feels the tightening band.
I have no God to pray to,—He, the man
Who was to me as God, reeled back stone dead,
I fell when charging foremost in the van,
My comrades past me like a whirlwind fled.
At early dawn a cock-crow from afar,
With momentary solace seemed to come;
For I remembered fields unplagued by war—
Those pleasant pastures of my native home.
The cock-crow ceased, but voice to voice replied
(Voices of unimaginable woe),
And here a brother raised his neck and cried,
There pawed the pitiless earth in dying throe;
“I could not die.” Ah, friends with tender heart,
Think of the horse, that wounded and in fear,
Lies still undying in his long death smart,
And only asks a ball behind the ear.
Shall not the Christ, Who came with Saviour hands
To bid the travail of creation cease;
Send forth to fields of war His Red-Cross bands,
And give the dying charger painless peace?
(Ballads of the War, p. 184)