First World War Poetry: The Call by F. Willey Turner

The Call

What are you doing today, men?
What are you doing today?
While the bay’nets glint and the cannons speak,
And a callous foe hunts down the weak,
What are you doing today?

There is a time for work, men!
And there is a time for play;
A time for the bat, the club, and the ball,
For the loud huzza by the well-won goal,
But that time is not for today.

Our tars are keeping the seas, men!
And our brave boys are away
Where the wintry moon with reek is dim,
And the shrapnel bursts in the trenches grim,
The trenches were they lay.

Right stern is the task in hand, men!
For the battle line is wide,
And they call to their brothers across the seas,
To fling off dull sloth and selfish case,
And stand by their valiant side.

And the call in in our hearts, men!
The hearts of the pure and strong,
The bugle blast that none may slight,
That right is right, and might as right
Doth ever stand for wrong.

File up and take your place, men!
In the war ranks of the free
For the love of our wave-girt isle,
The babe’s caress and the woman’s smile,
And the God of liberty.

The Call by F. Willey Turner was published in the Evesham Journal newspaper in January 1915 at a time when the War Office was calling for men to enlist in the war effort.

Broadway Remembers
October 2013

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