Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TRENCH NOMENCLATURE, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN



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TRENCH NOMENCLATURE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Genius named them, as I live! What but genius could compress
Last Line: From the fabled vase the genie in his shattering horror came.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): World War I; First World War


GENIUS named them, as I live! What but genius could compress
In a title what man's humour said to man's supreme distress?
Jacob's Ladder ran reversed, from earth to a fiery pit extending,
With not angels but poor Angles, those for the most part descending.
Thence Brock's Benefit commanded endless fireworks by two nations,
Yet some voices there were raised against the rival coruscations.
Picturedome peeped out upon a dream, not Turner could surpass,
And presently the picture moved, and greyed with corpses and morass.
So down south; and if remembrance travel north, she marvels yet
At the sharp Shakespearean names, and with sad mirth her eyes are wet.
The Great Wall of China rose, a four-foot breastwork, fronting guns
That, when the word dropped, beat at once its silly ounces with brute tons;
Odd Krab Krawl on paper looks, and odd the foul-breathed alley twisted,
As one feared to twist there too, if Minnie, forward quean, insisted.
Where the Yser at Dead End floated on its bloody waters
Dead and rotten monstrous fish, note (east) The Pike and Eel headquarters.
Ah, such names and apparitions! name on name! what's in a name?
From the fabled vase the genie in his shattering horror came.





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