War Poet

Sydney Keyes

I am the man who looked for peace and found
My own eyes barbed.
I am the man who groped for words and found
An arrow in my hand.
I am the builder whose firm walls surround
A slipping land.
When I grow sick or mad
Mock me not nor chain me;
When I reach for the wind
Cast me not down
Though my face is a burnt book
And a wasted town. 

Editor's note: written in March 1942. Keyes was a lieutenant in the West Kent regiment, killed during a raid in North Africa, 19th April 1943.

Sydney Keyes
The Voice of War -- Michael Joseph Ltd (1995)