Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ANOTHER JOURNEY FROM BETHUNE TO CUINCHY, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN



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ANOTHER JOURNEY FROM BETHUNE TO CUINCHY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I see you walking
Last Line: My time for trench round.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): World War I; First World War


I SEE you walking
To a pale petalled sky,
And the green silent water
Is resting there by;
It seems like bold madness
But that "you" is I.

I long to interpret
That voice of a bell
So silver and simple,
Like a wood-dove-egg shell,
On the bank where you are walking --
It was I heard it well.

At the lock the sky bubbles
Are dancing and dying,
Some the smallest of pearls,
Some moons, and all flying,
Returning, and melting --
You watched them, half-crying.

This is Marie-Louise,
You need not have told me --
I remember her eyes
And the Cognac she sold me --
It is you that are sipping it;
Even so she cajoled me.

Her roof and her windows
Were nothing too sound,
And here and there holes
Some forty feet round
(Antiquer than Homer)
Encipher the ground.

Do you jib at my tenses?
Who's who? you or I?
Do you own Bethune
And that grave eastward sky?
Bethune is miles off now,
'Ware wire and don't die.

The telegraph posts
Have revolted at last,
And old Perpendicular
Leans to the blast,
The rigging hangs ragging
From each plunging mast.

What else would you fancy,
For here it is war?
My thanks, young upstart,
I've been here before --
I know this Division,
And hate this damned Corps.

"Kingsclere" hath its flowers,
And piano to boot;
The coolest of cellars,
-- Your finest salute!
You fraudulent wretch --
You appalling recruit!

O haste, for the darnel
Hangs over the trench,
As yellow as the powder
Which kills with a stench!
Shall you go or I go?
O I'll go -- don't mench!

But both of us slither
Between the mossed banks,
And through thirsty chalk
Where the red-hatted cranks
Have fixed a portcullis
With notice-board -- thanks!

A mad world, my masters!
Whose masters? my lad,
If you are not I,
It is I who am mad;
Let's report to the company,
Your mess, egad.

Well, now sir (though lime juice
Is nothing to aid),
This young fellow met me,
And kindly essayed
To guide me -- but now it seems
I am betrayed.

He says he is I,
And that I am not he;
But the same omened sky
Led us both, we agree, --
If we cannot commingle,
Pray take him and me.

For where the numb listener
Lies in the dagged weed,
I'll see your word law,
And this youth has agreed
To let me use his name --
Take the will for the deed.

And what if the whistle
Of the far-away train
Come moan-like through mist
Over Coldstream Lane,
Come mocking old love
Into waking again?

And the thinkings of life,
Whether those of thy blood,
Or the manifold soul
Of field and of flood --
What if they come to you
Bombed in the mud?

Well, now as afore
I should wince so, no doubt,
And still to my star
I should cling, all about,
And muddy one midnight
We all will march out.

-- Sir, this man may talk,
But he surely omits
That a crump any moment
May blow us to bits;
On this rock his identity-
Argument splits.

I see him walking
In a golden-green ground,
Where pinafored babies
And skylarks abound,
But that's his own business.
My time for trench round.





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