Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, INTO THE SALIENT, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN

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INTO THE SALIENT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Sallows like heads in polynesia
Last Line: Into seven days of country where you come out any door.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): World War I; First World War

SALLOWS like heads in Polynesia,
With few and blood-stuck hairs,
Mud-layered cobble-stones,
Soldiers in smoky sheds, blackening uniforms and walls with their cookery;
Shell-holes in roofs, in roads,
Even in advertisements
Of bicycles and beer;
The Middle Ages gone to sleep, and woken up to this --
A salvo, four flat slamming explosions.
When you come out the wrong side of the ruin, you are facing Hill Sixty,
Hill Sixty is facing you.
You have been planted on the rim of a volcano,
Which will bring forth its fruit -- at any second.

Better to be shielded from these facts;
There is a cellar, or was just now.
If the wreck isn't knocked in on us all,
We may emerge past the two Belgian policemen,
The owners' representatives,
Standing in their capes on the steps of the hollow estaminet
Open at all hours to all the winds
At the Poperinghe end of Ypres.
O if we do, if time will pass in time,
We will march
With rifles butt-upwards, in our teeth, any way you like,
Into seven days of country where you come out any door.

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