Wifred Owen The Sentry

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We'd found an old Boche dug-out, and he knew,
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And gave us hell, for shell on frantic shell
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Hammered on top, but never quite burst through.
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Rain, guttering down in waterfalls of slime
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Kept slush waist high, that rising hour by hour,
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Choked up the steps too thick with clay to climb.
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What murk of air remained stank old, and sour
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With fumes of whizz-bangs, and the smell of men
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Who'd lived there years, and left their curse in the den,
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If not their corpses. . . .
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There we herded from the blast
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Of whizz-bangs, but one found our door at last.
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Buffeting eyes and breath, snuffing the candles.
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And thud! flump! thud! down the steep steps came thumping
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And splashing in the flood, deluging muck —
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The sentry's body; then his rifle, handles
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Of old Boche bombs, and mud in ruck on ruck.
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We dredged him up, for killed, until he whined
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"O sir, my eyes — I'm blind — I'm blind, I'm blind!"
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Coaxing, I held a flame against his lids
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And said if he could see the least blurred light
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He was not blind; in time he'd get all right.
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He was not blind; in time he'd get all right.
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"I can't," he sobbed. Eyeballs, huge-bulged like squids
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Watch my dreams still; but I forgot him there
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In posting next for duty, and sending a scout
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To beg a stretcher somewhere, and floundering about
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To other posts under the shrieking air.
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Those other wretches, how they bled and spewed,
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And one who would have drowned himself for good, —
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I try not to remember these things now.
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Let dread hark back for one word only: how
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Half-listening to that sentry's moans and jumps,
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And the wild chattering of his broken teeth,
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Renewed most horribly whenever crumps
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Pummelled the roof and slogged the air beneath —
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Through the dense din, I say, we heard him shout
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"I see your lights!" But ours had long died out.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

And gave us hell, for shell on frantic shell

Back

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Card 3

Front

Hammered on top, but never quite burst through.

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Rain, guttering down in waterfalls of slime

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Kept slush waist high, that rising hour by hour,

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
View more cards

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