"The Rank Stench Of Those Bodies Haunts Me Still"


The rank stench of those bodies haunts me still And I remember things I'd best forget. For now we've marched to a green, trenchless land Twelve miles from battering guns: along the grass Brown lines of tents are hives for snoring men; Wide, radiant water sways the floating sky Below dark, shivering trees. And living-clean Comes back with thoughts of home and hours of sleep. To-night I smell the battle; miles away Gun-thunder leaps and thuds along the ridge; The spouting shells dig pits in fields of death, And wounded men, are moaning in the woods. If any friend be there whom I have loved, God speed him safe to England with a gash. It's sundown in the camp; some youngster laughs, Lifting his mug and drinking health to all Who come unscathed from that unpitying waste: (Terror and ruin lurk behind his gaze.) Another sits with tranquil, musing face, Puffing bis pipe and dreaming of the girl Whose last scrawled letter lies upon his knee. The sunlight falls, low-ruddy from the west, Upon their heads. Last week they might have died And now they stretch their limbs in tired content. One says 'The bloody Bosche has got the knock; 'And soon they'll crumple up and chuck their games. 'We've got the beggars on the run at last!' Then I remembered someone that I'd seen Dead in a squalid, miserable ditch, Heedless of toiling feet that trod him down. He was a Prussian with a decent face, Young, fresh, and pleasant, so 1 dare to say. No doubt he loathed the war and longed for peace, And cursed our souls because we'd killed bis friends. One night he yawned along a haIf-dug trench Midnight; and then the British guns began With heavy shrapnel bursting low, and 'hows' Whistling to cut the wire with blinding din. He didn't move; the digging still went on; Men stooped and shovelled; someone gave a grunt, And moaned and died with agony in the sludge. Then the long hiss of shells lifted and stopped. He stared into the gloom; a rocket curved, And rifles rattled angrily on the left Down by the wood, and there was noise of bombs. Then the damned English loomed in scrambling haste Out of the dark and struggled through the wire, And there were shouts and eurses; someone screamed And men began to blunder down the trench Without their rifles. It was time to go: He grabbed his coat; stood up, gulping some bread; Then clutched his head and fell. I found him there In the gray morning when the place was held. His face was in the mud; one arm flung out As when he crumpled up; his sturdy legs Were bent beneath bis trunk; heels to the skye


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sergey May 20, 2013 at 7:45am

This is awful and robratterman sucks!

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robert-bobert May 21, 2013 at 3:10am

Yeah, this guy is just nuts!

robratterman May 21, 2013 at 3:12am

YOU BOTH ARE FIRED!!!

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