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 And while I wondered on their being withdrawn, Gagged by the smothering wing which none unbinds, I dreaded even a heaven with doors so chained.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
He dropped,—more sullenly than wearily, Lay stupid like a cod, heavy like meat, And none of us could kick him to his feet; Just blinked at my revolver, blearily; —Didn’t appear to know a war was on, Or see the blasted trench at which he stared. “I’ll do ’em in,” he whined, “If this hand’s spared, I’ll murder them, I will.” A low voice said, “It’s Blighty, p’raps, he sees; his pluck’s all gone, Dreaming of all the valiant, that aren’t dead: Bold uncles, smiling ministerially; Maybe his brave young wife, getting her fun In some new home, improved materially. It’s not these stiffs have crazed him; nor the Hun.” We sent him down at last, out of the way. Unwounded;—stout lad, too, before that strafe. Malingering? Stretcher-bearers winked, “Not half!” Next day I heard the Doc.’s well-whiskied laugh: “That scum you sent last night soon died. Hooray!”