Ivor Gurney

(1890-1937 / England)

Strange Hells - Poem by Ivor Gurney

There are strange Hells within the minds War made
Not so often, not so humiliating afraid
As one would have expected - the racket and fear guns made.

One Hell the Gloucester soldiers they quite put out;
Their first bombardment, when in combined black shout
Of fury, guns aligned, they ducked low their heads
And sang with diaphragms fixed beyond all dreads,
That tin and stretched-wire tinkle, that blither of tune;
'Apres la guerre fini' till Hell all had come down,
Twelve-inch, six-inch, and eighteen pounders hammering Hell's thunders.

Where are they now on State-doles, or showing shop patterns
Or walking town to town sore in borrowed tatterns
Or begged. Some civic routine one never learns.
The heart burns - but has to keep out of face how heart burns.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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