Dialogue between the Body and the Soul of the Murdered Girl

BODY

I speak not from my pallid lips
but from these wounds.

SOUL

Red lips that cannot tell
a credible tale.

BODY

In a world of martyr'd men
these lips renounce their ravage:
The wounds of France
roused their fresh and fluid voices.

SOUL

War has victims beyond the bands
bonded to slaughter. War moves with armoured wheels
across the quivering flesh and patient limbs
of all life's labile fronds.

BODY

France was the garden I lived in.
Amid these trees, these fields, petals fell
flesh to flesh; I was a wilder flower.

SOUL

Open and innocent. So is the heart
laid virgin to my choice. I filled
your vacant ventricles with dreams
with immortal hopes and aspirations that exalt
the flesh to passion, to love and hate.
Child-radiance then is clouded, the light
that floods the mind is hot with blood
pulse beats to the vibrant battle-cry
the limbs are burnt with action.

BODY

The heart had not lost its innocence so soon
but for the coming of that day when men
speaking a strange tongue, wearing strange clothes
armed, flashing with harness and spurs
carrying rifles, lances or spears
followed by rumbling waggons, shrouded guns
passed through the village in endless procession
swift, grim, scornful, exulting.

SOUL

You had not lost your innocence so soon
but for the going of men from the village
your father gone, your brother
only the old left, and the very young
the women sad, the houses shuttered
suspense of school, even of play
the eager search for news, the air
of universal doubt, and then the knowledge
that the wavering line of battle now was fixed
beyond this home. The soil was tilled
for visionary hate.

BODY

Four years was time enough
for such a seedling hate to grow
sullen, close, intent;
To wait and wonder
but to abate
no fervour in the slow passage of despair.

SOUL

The mind grew tense.

BODY

My wild flesh was caught
in the cog and gear of hate.

SOUL

I lay coiled, the spring
of all your intricate design.

BODY

You served me well. But still I swear
Christ was my only King.

SOUL

France was your Motherland:
To her you gave your life and limbs.

BODY

I gave these hands and gave these arms
I gave my head of ravelled hair.

SOUL

You gave your sweet round breasts
like Agatha who was your Saint.

BODY

Mary Aegyptiaca
is the pattern of my greatest loss.

SOUL

To whom in nakedness and want
God sent a holy man.
Who clothed her, shrived her, gave her peace
before her spirit left the earth.

BODY

My sacrifice was made to gain
the secrets of these hostile men.

SOUL

I hover round your fameless features
barred from Heaven by light electric.

BODY

All men who find these mauled remains
will pray to Mary for your swift release.

SOUL

The cry that left your dying lips
was heard by God.

BODY

I died for France.

SOUL

A bright mantle fell across your bleeding limbs.
Your face averted shone with sacred fire.
So be content. In this war
many men have perished not bless'd
with faith in a cause, a country or a God
not less martyrs than Herod's Victims, Ursula's Virgins
or any mass'd innocents massacred.

BODY

Such men give themselves not to their God but to their fate
die thinking the face of God not love but hate.

SOUL

Those who die for a cause die comforted and coy;
believing their cause God's cause they die with joy.
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