If I should die, think only this of me:
      That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
      In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
      Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
      Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
      A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
            Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
      And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
            In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.



Poetry Out Loud Note: This poem has had two titles: “The Soldier” and “Nineteen-Fourteen: The Soldier”. The student may give either title during the recitation.

  • David Ferry, "The Soldier" from No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems and Translations (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1999). Copyright © 1999 by David Ferry. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

  • Source: Poetry (The University of Chicago Press, 1999-10-31)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"Poetry Out Loud has taught me not to give up after one mistake. Or two mistakes. Or a few mistakes. It has taught me not to sell myself short, but also to love every unique perspective I come across. People, like poetry, cannot be read once and immediately
understood."
Addi Garner
2017 WA POL Champion