Home > Uncategorized > Malcolm Cowley: By day there are only the dead

Malcolm Cowley: By day there are only the dead


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts
American writers on peace and against war


Malcolm Cowley
Ostel 1917


By day
The town basks in the sun like some Aztec ruin.
There is quiet in the trenches nearby; quiet and strained watching.
The crumbling walls of the village are without habitant.

Everything changes with nightfall.
Hooded camions rumble up the street in convoy.
Out of holes in the ground come tired old men to unload them.
Artillery caissons strain towards the batteries
And trains of pack mules.
Down from the trenches stumble figures shrouded in mud.
Continually there are starshells
And the nervous hammer of machine guns
And ambulances.

Men work and talk; eat and dig graves;
The slow dawn comes and everything disappears
Machines and men and animals
Like old-fashioned ghosts
At midnight.

By day
There are only the dead
And like vultures
The aeroplanes circling above them.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: