Bayonet Charge annotated

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Bayonet Charge
Suddenly he awoke and was running raw
In rawseamed hot khaki, his sweat heavy,
Stumbling across a field of clods towards a green hedge
That dazzled with rifle fire, hearing
Bullets smacking the belly out of the air
He lugged a rifle numb as a smashed arm
The patriotic tear that had brimmed in his eye
Sweating like molten iron from the centre of his chest,
In bewilderment then he almost stopped
In what cold clockwork of the stars and the nations
Was he the hand pointing that second? He was running
Like a man who has jumped up in the dark and runs
Listening between his footfalls for the reason
Of his still running, and his foot hung like
Statuary in midstride. Then the shotslashed furrows
Threw up a yellow hare that rolled like a flame
And crawled in a threshing circle, its mouth wide
Open silent, its eyes standing out.
He plunged past with his bayonet toward the green hedge,
King, honour, human dignity, etcetera
Dropped like luxuries in a yelling alarm
To get out of that blue crackling air
His terror's touchy dynamite.
TED HUGHES

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