‘FALL in! Now get a move on.
’ (Curse the rain.
We splash away along the straggling village,
Out to the flat rich country, green with June.
And sunset flares across wet crops and tillage,
Blazing with splendour-patches.
Up in the Line.
) ‘Perhaps the War’ll be done
Keep smiling then, old son.
Here’s the Canal: it’s dusk; we cross the bridge.
‘Lead on there, by platoons.
’ (The Line’s a-glare
With shell-fire through the poplars; distant rattle
Of rifles and machine-guns.
) ‘Fritz is there!
‘Christ, ain’t it lively, Sergeant? Is’t a battle?’
More rain: the lightning blinks, and thunder rumbles.
‘There’s over-head artillery!’ some chap grumbles.
What’s all this mob at the cross-roads? Where are the guides?.
‘Lead on with number One.
’ And off they go.
‘Three minute intervals.
’ (Poor blundering files,
Sweating and blindly burdened; who’s to know
If death will catch them in those two dark miles?)
‘Lead on, Head-quarters.
’ (That’s the lot.
Oh, Sergeant-Major, don’t get shot!
‘And tell me, have we won this war or not?’