Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IN THE TRENCHES, by RICHARD ALDINGTON



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IN THE TRENCHES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Not that we are weary
Last Line: And crush the spring leaf with your armies!
Subject(s): Military; Soldiers; War; World War I; First World War


Not that we are weary,
Not that we fear,
Not that we are lonely
Though never alone—
Not these, not these destroy us;
But that each rush and crash
Of mortar and shell,
Each cruel bitter shriek of bullet
That tears the wind like a blade,
Each wound on the breast of earth,
Of Demeter, our Mother,
Wound us also,
Sever and rend the fine fabric
Of the wings of our frail souls,
Scatter into dust the bright wings
Of Psyche!

II
Impotent,
How impotent is all this clamor,
This destruction and contest ...
Night after night comes the moon
Haughty and perfect;
Night after night the Pleiades sing
And Orion swings his belt across the sky.
Night after night the frost
Crumbles the hard earth.

Soon the spring will drop flowers
And patient creeping stalk and leaf
Along these barren lines
Where the huge rats scuttle
And the hawk shrieks to the carrion crow.

Can you stay them with your noise?
Then kill winter with your cannon,
Hold back Orion with your bayonets
And crush the spring leaf with your armies!





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