Quiet Eyes

The boys come home, come home from war,
With quiet eyes for quiet things --
A child, a lamb, a flower, a star,
A bird that softly sings.

Young faces war-worn and deep-lined,
The satin smoothness past recall;
Yet out of sight is out of mind
For the worst wrong of all.

As nightmare dreams that pass with sleep,
The horror and grief intolerable.
The unremembering young eyes keep
Their innocence. All is well!

The worldling's eyes are dusty dim,
The eyes of sin are weary and cold,
The fighting boy brings home with him
The unsullied eyes of old.

The war has furrowed the young face.
Oh, there's no all-heal, no wound-wort!
The soul looks from its hidden place
Unharmed, unflawed, unhurt.

by Katharine Tynan

Comments (21)

I'm glad this was selected POTD again- -I think she is a clever intelligent poet and I shall read more by her this time around.
This is my second visit to this poem that is selected as POD. for second time just after one year. Congratulations.
The last two lines of this poem being contrary to my understanding of what taking life does to a soul, I wonder if Tynan was being ironic, stating the opposite of what was true. Are not the nightmares and physical signs she notes evidence of what has happened to soldiers’ souls? -GK
A very sad poem indeed about kids returning from wars and their scars in heart and mind. Excellent.
'The soul looks from its hidden place' The sad ravages of war.
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