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Adler, Philip A. (ed.) / Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XVII, Number 4 (January 1918)

Gessler, Clifford F.
Back there,   p. 89


Page 89

WISCONSIN LITER A RV A A rm A I Ir,
had again been refused the permisison to send for the
Frankish doctor.
"At sunset he came back again. He was shaking
with a terrible fear-afraid, so afraid. The couch
upon which she had lain was tumbled and empty. His
eyes swept the empty, dull-lighted room. Then rested
upon her body, lying on the floor. He knew that the
worst had happened, and knelt beside her calling
'Love of Life, Love of Life!' But she lay softly, as
if dreaming. Perhaps the Franks could have saved
her, and he cried out against the superstition of his
people. In the middle of his sorrow, he leaped to his
feet and shouted, 'Allah, it is the sign!' For the dead
body lay with one arm outflung towards the latticed
window, and through the window came the light of the
v ~r 11 Ul - A1 1J  fin              89
setting sun. And the sun sets in the west. Do you
see? It was his answer. Her body, which might have
lived, but for the superstition of her people, now lay
like an arrow to point the way he should take and
follow. It was not the journey to Mekka which he
should take. It was the long long journey to the land
of the infidel.
"In a passion against the ways of his people, he
thrust his fist thru the delicate lattice of the window,
and let the light stream thru upon her body-and I
myself have seen this window, which Avet broke. But
you have seen the ending of it all-Avet Pasha, the
greatest product of modern Turkey."
ESTHER FORBES.
Back There
i wonder what they're saying now about us, over
there,-
The folks of my home town, back there in Smithville?
I think about it, when the shrapnel, cutting all the air,
Strikes down my comrades who have come from homes
like mine
Back there across the sea, in quiet Smithville.
The fields are yellow with the gold of harvest time,-
They're binding up the grain, just out of Smithville.
I can hear the farmers calling to their horses, and the
chime
Of the village clock, and lowing of the cattle by the
stream
Where the road leads through the fields to peaceful
Smithville.
The village girls go chatting down the dusty, shaded
street;
The gossips lean across the fence, in Smithville;
Boys patter down the sidewalk with bare and dusty
feet,
And the loafers pitch their horseshoes by the railroad
track
Or sit and talk about the war, in Smithville.
I wonder, if to-morrow's fight should lay me with the
dead,
How soon they would forget me, there in Smithville?
For everything's so quiet there, when here 'tis all so
red.-
But there's a gray-haired woman there, would weep
her eyes away,-
There's someone knows there is a war, in Smithville!
-CLIFFORD F. GESSLER.
January, 1918


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