Horses in WW1

March 13th, 2008  
Del Boy

Topic: Horses in WW1

The author of this poem was William Parr, serving with the Field Artillery, the First Canadian Division, WW1. He heard one of the drivers say that should he 'go west' he would like to take his two horses with him. A few days later an exploding shell killed the soldier and his horses. William Parr buried the driver with a horse on each side of him in the Ypres Salient, Belgium.

Oh Lord, to Thee I want to make my prayer,
My soul is troubled sore from day to day,
I never had the chance to know Thee Lord,
Nobody ever taught me how to pray.
So if my prayer is not as it should be,
Is not as padre prays on church parade,
Please pardon me, forgive what I’ve forgot,
For at thy feet my naked soul is laid.

If in the roster kept by Thee above
My name is next to cease this life fatigue,
And I must fall in with my fallen pals
A clean life’s page behind I want to leave.
Grant that I die where bursting shrapnel sings,
My team upon a gallop toward the foe,
And when my soul at last reports to Thee,
Please let me take my horses where I go.

If it is true what our old padre says,
That there are horses in the land above,
Are there not some spare stalls to hold my two,
My Black, my Brown, the horses that I love,
They’re only common field artillery plugs,
And I am just a common soldier man.
We’ve fought and starved together side by side,
I’d like to take them with me if I can.

I know my saddle Black is pretty mean,
And kicks and bites at everyone but me,
Still when I’m with him he is always good,
Just let me bring him up for you to see.
He’d be ill-treated if I left him here,
Be kicked and cursed and starved until he died,
Please can’t I ride him through the golden streets,
The gentle old Brown Off-horse at his side.

They’ve carried me on many a weary ride,
They’ve been my pals, my everlasting joy,
I’ve nursed them both when they were sick,
And kept their harness burnished like a toy.
I’ve gone with them into the jaws of death,
Gunners and drivers killed on every trip,
Their panting hides have dripped with mud and sweat,
My horses needed neither spur nor whip.

Oh Lord, if heaven has no stable room,
With greatest reverence this I’d like to tell,
And if the fiery regions have some stalls,
Then let me ride my horses down in hell.
And when the grand, great, final roll call comes,
To be the first upon parade we’ll try,
Oh Lord of All please grant my only prayer,
To take my horses with me when I die.

William Parr WW1.
March 13th, 2008  
Reminds me of Joyce Kilmers poem about Trees.

Who is the author?
March 13th, 2008  
Del Boy
Tom -you were too quick for me. i measured the character count first by putting it up and then added the detail. It's all up now, as you will see, and explains why I posted it on this thread; it is indeed a bit of WW1 history. I came across it today, and I do not know if it is well-known or not, it wasn't to me certainly.
March 13th, 2008  
Thanks, Del.

Very good post!
May 5th, 2008  
nice one Del !

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