Entrance and exit wounds are silvered clean,
The track aches only when the rain reminds.
The one-legged man forgets his leg of wood
The one-armed man his jointed wooden arm.
The blinded man sees with his ears and hands
As much or more than once with both his eyes.
Their war was fought these twenty years ago
And now assumes the nature-look of time,
As when the morning traveller turn and views
His wild night-stumbling carved into a hill.
What, then, was war? No mere discord of flags
But an infectionof the common sky
That sagged ominously upon the earth
Even when the season was the airiest May.
Down pressed the sky, and we, oppressed, thrust out
Boastful tongue, clenched fist and valiant yard.
Natural infirmiries were out of mode,
For Death was young again: patron alone
Of healthy dying, premature fate-spasm.
Fear made fine bed-fellows. Sick with delight
At life's discovered transitoriness,
Out youth became all-flesh and waived the mind.
Never was such antiqueness of romance,
Such tasty honey oozing from the heart.
And old importances came swimming back &mdash
Wine, meat, log-fires, a roof over the head,
A weapon at the thigh, surgeons at call.
Even there was a use again for God &mdash
A word of rage in lack of meat, wine, fire,
In ache of wounds beyond all surgeoning.
War was return of earth to ugly earth,
War was foundering of sublimities,
Extinction of each happy art and faith
By which the world had still kept head in air,
Protesting logic or protesting love,
Until the unendurable moment struck &mdash
The inward scream, the duty to run mad.
And we recall the merry ways of guns &mdash
Nibbling the walls of factory and church
Like a child, piecrust; felling groves of trees
Like a child, dandelions with a switch.
Machine-guns rattle toy-like from a hill,
Down in a row the brave tin-soldiers fall:
A sight to be recalled in elder days
When learnedly the future we devote
To yet more boastful visions of despair.
Robert Graves's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Recalling War by Robert Graves )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi
(1207 - 1273)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631)
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
- No Man Is An Island, John Donne
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- A Moment Of Happiness, Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi
- Christmas Trees, Robert Frost
- Death Be Not Proud, John Donne
Poem of the Day
- A Universal Gift, Sandra Feldman
- The Constant Factor, Steve Kittell
- The Life Doesn't Stop for Me., Jiya Acharya
- Somewhere In Fantasy Land Hazel Icefrost, Heather Burns
- Beats of the New City., Jiya Acharya
- Somewhere In Fantasy Land A Wedding, Heather Burns
- Somewhere In Fatasy Land Bracken Elfshi.., Heather Burns
- Happy New Year!, Tushar Ray
- This Is Hell, Paula Glynn
- Nap Time, Michael P. McParland