Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LA QUINQUE RUE, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

LA QUINQUE RUE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O road in dizzy moonlight bleak and blue
Last Line: To trim roofs and cropped fields; the error's mine.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): World War I; First World War

O ROAD in dizzy moonlight bleak and blue,
With forlorn effigies of farms besprawled,
With trees bitterly bare or snapped in two,
Why riddle me thus -- attracted and appalled?
For surely now the grounds both left and right
Are tilled, and scarless houses undismayed
Glow in the lustrous mercy of sweet night
And one may hear the flute or fiddle played.
Why lead me then
Through the foul-gorged, the cemeterial fen
To fear's sharp sentries? Why do dreadful rags
Fur these bulged banks, and feebly move to the wind?
That battered drum, say why it clacks and brags?
Another and another! what's behind?
How is it that these flints flame out fire's tongue,
Shrivelling my thought? these collapsed skeletons,
What are they, and these iron hunks among?
Why clink those spades, why glare these startling suns
And topple to the wet and crawling grass,
Where the strange briars in taloned hedges twine?
What need of that stopped tread, that countersign?
O road, I know those muttering groups you pass.
I know your way of turning blood to glass.
But, I am told, to-night you safely shine
To trim roofs and cropped fields; the error's mine.

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