Darkness—expectant, discreet— Only a lamp here and there, Gloom in the clattering street, Stygian black in the square; Dazzling fascias and fronts, Scintillant sky-scrapers banished, Snuffed and shut down are the spangles of Town. London has vanished. Only a few months ago London woke up every night; Dances or “Chemin” or Show, Festival vistas or light. Everywhere glitter and glare, Junket and revelry keeping. Yes, but despite the laughter and light, London was sleeping. Searchlights are probing the skies, Eastward their streamers are trailed; Masked are the city’s bright eyes— Even the tramcars are veiled. Cockneys turn in at eleven, “Stop Press” thirst finally slaked. Turn the lights out. Now, without doubt, London’s awake!
Jessie Pope - 1868-1941
Comrades in Arm-Lets
Not theirs the popular uniform That takes the feminine heart by storm, And wins soft glances, shy or warm, The perquisites of pluck. But theirs the commonplace city kit, With a blue and white stripe round the sleeve of it, And a stout little truncheon to do the trick, If ever they have the luck. Not theirs to fight on the Allie’s wing, Or even the march with soldierly swing, While the people are cheering like anything, To the stirring roll of drums. But theirs to stand ’neath a pitchy sky. On a lonely beat, with a vigilant eye For the skulking shape of a German spy Who—bother him!—never comes. By night they guard—though possibly bored— Those places where light and water are stored, And—since the family can’t be ignored— Business as usual by day. Though sport may be scanty compared with the blanks, They’re doing their level, the armletted ranks, With no expectation of ha’pence or thanks, For that is the S.C.’s way.