Vacant Shuttles Weave the Wind

September 21, 2019

Laid in recumbent graves the men in Northern France

And Belgium, once who stood waist-high awash of mud

Comingling bloods, and what the slaughterhouses

Like to call, connective tissue.  

Elseways had left undead a few past living either way

Ascended to high Rolls of Honour, recuperators from,

The rout of battles’ waves, from times in which, always,

When one day happens other days come up behind, in total

Like today, the day it was before.  

Insurgent mass-production oils the countless death cry  

Owen and Brooke were spoken-to by roars from German guns

Happily they slept there, fallen in a sudden swoon

Boots of their comrades trampling dear their daylights into new

Commuted versions  

Of apple pie and singing birds, all laced with custard

Making a mash and patê of it all

  Confined to a vast dark lingering dugout is another crew

Sassoon and Thomas and Walter del la Mare

Among the walking wounded worked their sinews;

Who pulled through,  

If such a word’s appropriate - it will do

Gone to a further shore their ethereal centres passed,

Were lost in transit, given up their ghosts; they struggled

To be landed

To pull up on a beach where conscious sorrow seemed

Closed over

A wreath their strand of poetry these men

Contains no cure

Emptied of slapstick worthinesses, it something further saw

An entry in, a vestibule, standing before hell’s door

Waiting there, awaiting. Waiting, waiting there,

Waiting, waiting

A shortfall call on rhetoric might trouble here

Where devastating epithets are insufficient

Indifferent of those terror tabled times at Marne

Interminable terrors after and before

These debried men, eyes torn, dyed in remembrance of

The wistful figure felled

Frames gutted; like new-landed fish, sliding in practiced hands,

Of chatty cheery wives with knives, with knives most heartily

As sharp as gattling fire

That spill in half a second and a single stroke, a slash

Into a bin a scaly slew of mortal conflagration

For mouths, for feeding:

And these, the remnant seers, serve up an aftertaste

A morsel sad

They are gutted simulacre who survived, these soldiery,

Who blurted, poured out, hurtled, bladed innard thoughts

Revealling, by debouching, what a war that war

The very shards of which, the shatters, they received;

Metabolising warm cadavers

These once-were men a school whose aggregate perception

Pulls all that glory-hole of art apart from maw to chaps;

Are exegetes interred, grins fixed, curled sat in foxholes

That muse of theirs, of leafy lanes and standing trains sat sleeping

Sunshine and steam on pleasant days, refulgent pleasant fancy

Concussed, is dust, forever