Poilus

I

Regiments at a time pass through our village
And, filthy with the caked mud of the front
They lie along the roadside, or else hunt
Their billets in damp cellars, or in stables
And there, forgetting their abandoned tillage;
Their mining, or their clerking, or their law,
They sleep like beasts together on the straw.

II

Sometimes at dusk they crowd round cluttered tables,
And tipple sour Gascon wine and such;
Remember girls they left behind in Paris
The pucker of their lips ; the things they said
Talk of them eagerly, and laugh too much.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Jolly, indeed, but if one look as far as
Their eyes, the sparkle in them is quite dead.

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