Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Barbed wire

Who died on the wires, and hung there, one of two —
Who for his hours of life had chattered through
Infinite lovely chatter of Bucks accent:
Yet faced unbroken wires; stepped over, and went
A noble fool, faithful to his stripes— and ended.
But I weak, hungry, and willing only for the chance
Of line — to fight in the line, lay down under unbroken
Wires, and saw the flashes and kept unshaken,
Till the politest voice — a finicking accent, said:
‘Do you think you might crawl through there: there's a hole.'
Darkness, shot at: I smiled, as politely replied —
‘I'm afraid not, Sir.' There was no hole no way to be seen
Nothing but chance of death, after tearing of clothes.
Kept flat, and watched the darkness, hearing bullets whizzing —-
And thought of music — and swore deep heart's oaths
(Polite to God) and retreated and came on again,
Again retreated — a second time faced the screen.

Ivor Gurney, "The silent one".

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