Edmund Blunden


The Festubert Shrine

A sycamore on either side
In whose lovely leafage cried
Hushingly the little winds —
Thus was Mary’ s shrine descried.

“Sixteen Hundred and Twenty-Four”
Legended above the door,
“Pray, sweet gracious Lady, pray
For our souls,” — and nothing more.

Builded of rude gray stones and these
Scarred and marred from base to frieze
With the shrapnel’ s pounces — ah,
Fair she braved War’ s gaunt disease: