Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TRANSPORT UP AT YPRES, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN



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TRANSPORT UP AT YPRES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The thoroughfares that seem so dead to daylight passers-by
Last Line: While overhead with fleering light stare down those withered suns.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): World War I; First World War


THE thoroughfares that seem so dead to daylight passers-by
Change character when dark comes down, and traffic starts to ply;
Never a noisier street than the Rue de Malou then becomes
With the cartwheels jolting the dead awake, and the cars like rumbling drums.

The crazy houses watch them pass, and stammer with the roar,
The drivers hustle on their mules, more come behind and more;
Briskly the black mules clatter by, to-day was Devil's Mass;
The loathly smell of picric here, and there a touch of gas.

From silhouette to pitchy blur, beneath the bitter stars,
The interminable convoy streams of horses, vans, and cars.
They clamour through the cheerless night, the streets a slattern maze,
The sentries at the corners shout them on their different ways.

And so they go, night after night, and chance the shrapnel fire,
The sappers' waggons stowed with frames and concertina wire,
The ration-limbers for the line, the lorries for the guns:
While overhead with fleering light stare down those withered suns.





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