The Old Huntsman: And Other Poems

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Dutton, 1918 - 109 psl.

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35 psl. - We're none of us the same!' the boys reply. 'For George lost both his legs; and Bill's stone blind; Poor Jim's shot through the lungs and like to die; And Bert's gone syphilitic: you'll not find A chap who's served that hasn't found some change.
95 psl. - ... to darkness; and forgot The opiate throb and ache that was his wound. Water - calm, sliding green above the weir; Water - a sky-lit alley for his boat, Bird-voiced, and bordered with reflected flowers And shaken hues of summer: drifting down, He dipped contented oars, and sighed, and slept. Night, with a gust of wind, was in the ward, Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve. Night. He was blind; he could not see the stars Glinting among the wraiths of wandering cloud; Queer blots of colour,...
53 psl. - Stare up at caverned darkness winking white. You in the bomb-scorched kilt, poor sprawling Jock, You tottered here and fell, and stumbled on, Half dazed for want of sleep. No dream could mock Your reeling brain with comforts lost and gone. You did not feel her arms about your knees, Her blind caress, her lips upon your head: Too tired for thoughts of home and love and ease, The road would serve you well enough for bed.
48 psl. - Jack," cold-footed, useless swine, Had panicked down the trench that night the mine Went up at Wicked Corner; how he'd tried To get sent home; and how, at last, he died. Blown to small bits. And no one seemed to care Except that lonely woman with white hair.
35 psl. - When the boys come back They will not be the same ; for they'll have fought In a just cause : they lead the last attack On Anti-Christ ; their comrades' blood has bought New right to breed an honourable race. They have challenged Death and dared him face to face.
23 psl. - No thorny crown, only a woollen cap He wore — an English soldier, white and strong, Who loved his time like any simple chap, Good days of work and sport and homely song; Now he has learned that nights are very long, And dawn a watching of the windowed sky. But to the end, unjudging, he'll endure Horror and pain, not uncontent to die That Lancaster on Lune may stand secure. He faced me, reeling in his weariness, Shouldering his load of planks, so hard to bear.
101 psl. - Ah! but there was no need to call his name. He was beside me now, as swift as light. I knew him crushed to earth in scentless flowers, And lifted in the rapture of dark pines. "For now," he said, "my spirit has more eyes "Than heaven has stars; and they are lit by love. My body is the magic of the world, And dawn and sunset flame with my spilt blood.
95 psl. - But someone was beside him; soon he lay Shuddering because that evil thing had passed. And Death, who'd stepped toward him, paused and stared. Light many lamps and gather round his bed. Lend him your eyes, warm blood, and will to live. Speak to him; rouse him; you may save him yet. He's young; he hated war; how should he die When cruel old campaigners win safe through? But Death replied: 'I choose him.
20 psl. - A MYSTIC AS SOLDIER I lived my days apart, Dreaming fair songs for God, By the glory in my heart Covered and crowned and shod. Now God is in the strife, And I must seek Him there, Where death outnumbers life, And fury smites the air. I walk the secret way With anger in my brain. O music through my clay, When will you sound again?
56 psl. - Along the wind-swept platform, pinched and white, The travellers stand in pools of wintry light, Offering themselves to morn's long, slanting arrows. The train's due; porters trundle laden barrows. The train steams in, volleying resplendent clouds Of sun-blown vapour.

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