Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BATTALION IN REST, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN

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BATTALION IN REST, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Some found an owl's nest in the hollow skull
Last Line: Where stars new trembled with delight's design.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): World War I; First World War

SOME found an owl's nest in the hollow skull
Of the first pollard from the malthouse wall;
Some hurried through the swarming sedge
About the ballast-pond's bright edge,
And flashed through sunny deeps like boys from school;
All was discovery, love and laughter all.

The girls along the dykes of those moist miles
Went on raft boats to take their cows afield,
And eyes from many an English farm
Saw and owned the mode had charm;
One well might mark the silence and the smiles;
With such sweet balms, our wounds must soon be healed.

The jovial sun sprang up as bright each day
As fancy's sun could be, and climbed, heaven's youth,
To make the marching mornings cheat
Still-hectoring Mars of his receipt --
Who cannot hear the songs that led the way,
See the trim companies with their eyes on truth?

At evening, by the lonely white-walled house,
Where Que-C'est-Drole and Mon-Dieu stole to glance,
One bold platoon all turned to players
With masquerade and strumming airs;
The short clown darted nimble as a mouse,
The tambourine tapped out the stiff-stepped dance.

A shadowed corner suddenly found voice
As in the dusk I passed; it bade me stay.
The bottle to my lips was raised --
God help us, Serjeant, I was mazed
By that sharp fire your wine -- but I rejoice!
Could I but meet you again at the end o' the day!

Not seldom, soft by meadows deep in dew,
Another lit my soul with his calm shine.
There were cadences and whispers
In his ways that made my vespers --
A night-piece fitting well that temple blue
Where stars new trembled with delight's design.

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