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
The Silent Camp
In heaven, a pale uncertain star, Through sullen vapour peeps, On earth, extended wide and far, In all the symmetry of war, A weary army sleeps. The heavy-hearted pall of night Obliterates the lines, Save where a dying camp-fire’s light Leaps up and flares, a moment bright, Then once again declines. Black, solemn peace is brooding low, Peace, still unbroken, when There comes a sound, an ebb and flow— The steady breathing, deep and slow, Of half-a-million men. The pregnant dawn is drawing nigh, The dawn of power or pain; But now, beneath the mournful sky, In sleep’s maternal arms they lie Like children once again.