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Back to Rest by William Hodgson

 
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[Alan Seeger] [Charles Hamilton Sorley] [Edward Thomas] [Herbert Read] [Isaac Rosenberg] [John McCrae]
[Rupert Brooke] [Siegfried Sassoon] [Wilfred Owen] [William Noel Hodgson]

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Back to Rest

By William Hodgson

(Composed while marching to Rest Camp after severe fighting at Loos)

A leaping wind from England,
The skies without a stain,
Clean cut against the morning
Slim poplars after rain,
The foolish noise of sparrows
And starlings in the wood --
After the grime of battle
We know that these are good.

Death whining down from Heaven,
Death roaring from the ground,
Death stinking in the nostril,
Death shrill in every sound,
Doubting we charged and conquered --
Hopeless we struck and stood.
Now when the fight is ended
We know that it was good.

We that have seen the strongest
Cry like a beaten child,
The sanest eyes unholy,
The cleanest hands defiled,
We that have known the heart blood
Less than the lees of wine,
We that have seen men broken,
We know man is divine.



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