Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RETREAT, by WILFRID WILSON GIBSON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

RETREAT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Broken, bewildered by the long retreat
Last Line: "all-heal and willowherb and meadowsweet."
Subject(s): World War I; First World War

Broken, bewildered by the long retreat
Across the stifling leagues of Southern plain,
Across the scorching leagues of trampled grain,
Half-stunned, half-blinded by the trudge of feet
And dusty smother of the August heat,
He dreamt of flowers in an English lane,
Of hedgerow flowers glistening after rain --
All-heal and willowherb and meadowsweet.

All-heal and willowherb and meadowsweet --
The innocent names kept up a cool refrain,
All-heal and willowherb and meadowsweet,
Chiming and tinkling through his aching brain
Until he babbled as a child again --
"All-heal and willowherb and meadowsweet."

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