The YD Cemetery

Temporary American Cemetery, France 1918

 

The peasant children pass it as they leave the village school,

The pious strangers cross themselves along the road to Toul,

The captains call attention as the dusty troops plod by,

The officers salute it though receiving no reply;

‘Tis a spot all brown and barren ‘mid the poppies in the grain—

The Y-D cemetery by a roadside in Lorraine.

 

A row of wooden crosses and beneath the upturned sod

The hearts once wild and restless now know the peace of God.

The brave young lads who left us while life was at its flood,

While life was fresh and joyous and fire was in the blood,

Their young lives now enfranchised from mirth or joy or pain,

They sleep the sleep eternal by a roadside in Lorraine.

 

Of all the myriad places for the dead of man to rest,

The graveyard of the warrior for a freeman is the best;

Oh! Not for them our pity, but far across the foam

For the gray-haired mother weeping in some New England home,

‘Tis she who has our pity, ‘tis she who feels the pain

Of  the Y-D cemetery by a roadside in Lorraine.

 

The plodding columns pass them along the old Toul road;

New companies come marching where yesterday they strode;

Above, the whirr of motors—beyond, the roar of guns,

Where their allies and their brothers join battle with the Huns.

And the sunlight of their glory bursts through the clouds and rain,

O’er the Y-D cemetery by a roadside in Lorraine.

—Col. Harry B. Anderson, 26th Div. Judge Advocate

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