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Maurice Hewlett: In the Trenches

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Maurice Hewlett: Who prayeth peace?

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Maurice Hewlett
In the Trenches

220px-Portrait_of_Maurice_Hewlett

As I lay in the trenches
Under the Hunter’s Moon,
My mind ran to the lenches
Cut in a Wiltshire down.

I saw their long black shadows,
The beeches in the lane,
The gray church in the meadows
And my white cottage—plain.

Thinks I, the down lies dreaming
Under that hot moon’s eye,
Which sees the shells fly screaming
And men and horses die.

And what makes she, I wonder,
Of the horror and the blood,
And what’s her luck, to sunder
The evil from the good?

’T was more than I could compass,
For how was I to think
With such infernal rumpus
In such a blasted stink?

But here’s a thought to tally
With t’other. That moon sees
A shrouded German valley
With woods and ghostly trees.

And maybe there’s a river
As we have got at home
With poplar-trees aquiver
And clots of whirling foam.

And over there some fellow,
A German and a foe,
Whose gills are turning yellow
As sure as mine are so,

Watches that riding glory
Apparel’d in her gold,
And craves to hear the story
Her frozen lips enfold.

And if he sees as clearly
As I do where her shrine
Must fall, he longs as dearly,
With heart as full as mine.

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