Edmund Blunden(1 November 1896 - 20 January 1974 / London / England)
Preparations For Victory
- by Edmund Blunden31
My soul, dread not the pestilence that hags The valley; flinch not you, my body young. At these great shouting smokes and snarling jags Of fiery iron; as yet may not be flung The dice that claims you. Manly move among These ruins, and what you must do, do well; Look, here are gardens, there mossed boughs are hung With apples who bright cheeks none might excel, And there's a house as yet unshattered by a shell.
"I'll do my best," the soul makes sad reply, "And I will mark the yet unmurdered tree, The tokens of dear homes that court the eye, And yet I see them not as I would see. Hovering between, a ghostly enemy. Sickens the light, and poisoned, withered, wan, The least defiled turns desperate to me." The body, poor unpitied Caliban, Parches and sweats and grunts to win the name of Man.
Days or eternities like swelling waves Surge on, and still we drudge in this dark maze; The bombs and coils and cans by strings of slaves Are borne to serve the coming day of days; Pale sleep in slimy cellars scarce allays With its brief blank the burden. Look, we lose; The sky is gone, the lightless, drenching haze Of rainstorms chills the bone; earth, air are foes, The black fiend leaps brick-red as life's last picture goes.
The Midnight Skaters
- by Edmund Blunden29
The hop-poles stand in cones, The icy pond lurks under, The pole-tops steeple to the thrones Of stars, sound gulfs of wonder; But not the tallest thee, 'tis said, Could fathom to this pond's black bed. Then is not death at watch Within those secret waters? What wants he but to catch Earth's heedless sons and daughters? With but a crystal parapet Between, he has his engines set.
Then on, blood shouts, on, on, Twirl, wheel and whip above him, Dance on this ball-floor thin and wan, Use him as though you love him; Court him, elude him, reel and pass, And let him hate you through the glass.
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