The Great War

from War, The Liberator and Other Pieces, an electronic edition

Mines

(Sent from France in November 1917)

WHAT are you doing, Sentry,

Fresh-faced and brown?

Waiting for the mines, Sir,

Sitting on the mines, Sir,

Just to keep them down.

Mines going up, and no one to tell for us

Where it will be, and may be it's as well for us,

Mines going up. Oh! God, but it's hell for us,

Here with the bloody mines.

What are you doing, Sentry,

Cold and drawn and grey?

Listening to them tap, Sir,

Same old tap, tap, tap, Sir,

And praying for the day.

Mines going up, and no one can say for us

When it will be; but they waiting some day for us.

Mines going up--oh! folk at home, pray for us

Here with the bloody mines.

Where are you lying, Sentry?

Wasn't this your place?

Down below your feet, Sir,

Below your heavy feet, Sir,

With earth upon my face.

Mines gone up, and the earth and the clod on us--

Fighting for breath--and our own comrades trod on us.

Mines gone up--Have pity, oh God! on us,

Down in the bloody mines.