Suddenly night crushed out the day and hurled Her remnants over cloud-peaks, thunder-walled. Then fell a stillness such as harks appalled When far-gone dead return upon the world. There watched I for the Dead; but no ghost woke. Each one whom Life exiled I named and called. But they were all too far, or dumbed, or thralled; And never one fared back to me or spoke. Then peered the indefinite unshapen dawn With vacant gloaming, sad as half-lit minds, The weak-limned hour when sick men’s sighs are drained. And while I wondered on their being withdrawn, Gagged by the smothering wing which none unbinds, I dreaded even a heaven with doors so chained.
Wilfred Owen - 1893-1918
I mind as ’ow the night afore that show Us five got talking,—we was in the know, “Over the top to-morrer; boys, we’re for it, First wave we are, first ruddy wave; that’s tore it.” “Ah well,” says Jimmy,—an’ ’e’s seen some scrappin’— “There ain’t more nor five things as can ’appen; Ye get knocked out; else wounded—bad or cushy; Scuppered; or nowt except yer feeling mushy.” One of us got the knock-out, blown to chops. T’other was hurt, like, losin’ both ’is props. An’ one, to use the word of ’ypocrites, ‘Ad the misfortoon to be took by Fritz. Now me, I wasn’t scratched, praise God Almighty (Though next time please I’ll thank ’im for a blighty), But poor young Jim, ’e’s livin’ an’ ’e’s not; ’E reckoned ’e’d five chances, an’ ’e’s ’ad; ’E’s wounded, killed, and pris’ner, all the lot— The ruddy lot all rolled in one. Jim’s mad.