James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

May 30

Memorial Day

By Cy Warman (1855–1914)

GATHER the garlands rare today,

Snow-white roses and roses red;

Gather the fairest flowers of May,

Heap them up on the heaps of clay,

Gladden the graves of the noble dead.

Pile them high as the soldiers were

Piled on the field where they fought and fell;

They will rejoice in their new place there

Today, as they walk where the fragrant air

Is sweet with the scent of the asphodel.

Many a time, I’ve heard it said,

They fell so thick where the battles were,

Their hot blood rippled, and, running red,

Ran out like a rill from the drifted dead

Staining the heath and the daisies there.

This day the friends of the soldiers keep,

And they will keep it through all the years,

To the silent city where soldiers sleep

Will come with flowers, to watch and weep

And water the garlands with their tears.