Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, UNDER A THOUSAND WORDS, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN

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UNDER A THOUSAND WORDS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A thousand words on courage. -this request
Last Line: "but you call this instinct."
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): Courage; Writing & Writers; Valor; Bravery

"A thousand words on Courage." -- This request
Dropped on me like a bomb on a sandbag shelter,
And after much vague mental repetition
Ranging from La Boisselle to Lord Macaulay,
And metaphysical cross-examination
On memories of conspicuous gallant conduct,
I gave it up.
That afternoon our boat
Touched on a mud-flat, which we chose to cross,
And as we waddled through it, a three-inch crab
Disputed progress; one of his arms was gone;
The other he held ready like a boxer,
And backed and sidled to our every movement,
His one arm ready; and to command full view
Of the two monsters who had crossed the frontier,
He strained his body backward, and stood tilted,
Parrying every stroke we acted at him,
Eyeing us, holding the line.
"But you call this Instinct."

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