Jan 26. 1942.
The Vale that Lies Between.

We travel slow along a road,

That leads us thro’ a dread mysterious vale;

The vale that lies betwixt that far off time,

We call, “in peace time”.

Meaning those far off days of Peace,

Before these dreadful days of war.

Beyond us, far in front, and veiled from sight,

Lies the unknown, future “peace time”,

That comes when war shall cease.

How far our feet shall travel on this road,

We know not; Nor yet can weigh the loss and gain,

That comes thro’ strife and bloodshed.

We know that all mankind doth change,

When fighting ’gainst his brother man.

Great deeds are done, and fearful ones, no less.

We rise to higher heights and sink to deeper depths

Than ere before. The brains of man expand and plan

Faster by far than in the quiet days of peace.

Developments in new control of air and ether,

That used for good of man instead of ill,

Would bring millennium here and now, and usher in

The thousand years of Peace.

Alas! When shall we climb out of this gloomy vale of war,

Up to the sunlit mountain-top, of Peace-time yet to be?

It was a time of great uncertainty when May wrote ‘The Vale that Lies Between’. The war had entered a new phase in December 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour in the USA and soon afterwards began to overrun Allied territories in the Far East as reported in many of the Diary entries. May’s reference, in the poem, to faster ‘developments in control of air and ether’ will be illustrated in various Diary entries which will appear later. The poem has been added to the poems collection on this site. It also appears in the book The Casualties Were Small which contains over twenty of May’s poems as well as selected diary extracts, including those which suggest the background to each poem, accompanied by many nostalgic photographs.

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