by William Soutar (1898 - 1943)

The children
Language: English 
Upon the street they lie
Beside the broken stone:
The blood of children stares from the broken stone.

Death came out of the sky
In the bright afternoon:
Darkness slanted over the bright afternoon.

Again the sky is clear
But upon earth a stain:
The earth is darkened with a darkening stain:

A wound which everywhere 
Corrupts the hearts of men:
The blood of children corrupts the hearts of men.

Silence is in the air:
The stars move to their places:
Silent and serene the stars move to their places:

But from earth the children stare
With blind and fearful faces:
And our charity is in the children’s faces.

J. MacMillan sets stanzas 1-5

Confirmed with William Soutar, Poems in Scots and English, selected by W R Aitken, Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh, 1972, page 29.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Research team for this text: Iain Sneddon [Guest Editor] , Mike Pearson

Text added to the website: 2015-03-10 00:00:00
Last modified: 2018-11-26 18:26:12
Line count: 18
Word count: 109