Ivor Gurney

The Silent One

 Next Poem          

Who died on the wires, and hung
there, one of two --
Who for his hours of life had
chattered through
Infinite lovely chatter of Bucks
accent:
Yet faced unbroken wires;
stepped over, and went
A noble fool, faithful to his stripes
-- and ended.
But I weak, hungry, and willing
only for the chance
Of line -- to fight in the line, lay
down under unbroken
Wires, and saw the flashes and
kept unshaken,
Till the politest voice -- a finicking
accent, said:
‘Do you think you might crawl
through there: there's a hole.'
Darkness, shot at: I smiled, as
politely replied --
‘I'm afraid not, Sir.' There was no
hole no way to be seen
Nothing but chance of death, after
tearing of clothes.
Kept flat, and watched the
darkness, hearing bullets whizzing
--
And thought of music -- and
swore deep heart's oaths
(Polite to God) and retreated and
came on again,
Again retreated -- a second time
faced the screen.

Next Poem 

 Back to
Ivor Gurney