James Mills

Terminal Leave. France 1917

Poem by James Mills

I spent last night in my valley.
Green and peaceful, it is.
Slow wagons of unburdened past
creak slow down berry-bright lanes.

That last harvest saved and stacked
bristling and quaking in fields
where mud is but good earth
turned up by good men

and the bells of Sunday toll
us all to chapel from our beds,
where I've dreamed again of Molly
falling, falling into my arms.

Dawn: I am awake to
dull gunboom torturing the air.
Mudstuck tumbrils grumble by
abrim with glum, unready heroes.

And they will harness me to a post
and they will load and aim
and they will fire at my heart
but they will miss my heart,

for I bequeathed my target heart
in its last unhurt murmuring
to beat in still valleys
beyond these obscene echoes.

Comments about Terminal Leave. France 1917 by James Mills

  • Mireille Laborie (5/6/2005 6:55:00 AM)

    Powerful words capturing so well the feelings of the young soldier in some 'tranchée'.


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  • Mary Nagy (5/6/2005 5:33:00 AM)

    Very beautifully written. Can really put your reader right there beside you. Nice job. Sincerely, Mary(Report)Reply

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  • Ivy Christou (5/3/2005 7:14:00 AM)

    simply stunning James... it is so peaceful and calm. I loved it! please keep posting..

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  • Frances Macaulay FordeFrances Macaulay Forde (5/2/2005 11:34:00 AM)

    Wow - another heart-wrenching poem which attacks all the senses at once.
    And again, a fabulous last line. Congratulations.
    More poems please and more information on you - your books etc, etc.(Report)Reply

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  • Michael Shepherd (5/2/2005 4:50:00 AM)

    Some details about this devastatingly focussed poem please?(Report)Reply

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Read poems about / on: green, fire, heart, night, hero, dream

Poem Submitted: Monday, May 2, 2005

Poem Edited: Monday, May 2, 2005