The Great War

from More Songs By the Fighting Men, an electronic edition

Sounds by Night

I HEAR the dull low thunder of the guns

Beyond the hills that doze uneasily,

A sullen doomful growl that ever runs

From end to end of the heavy freighted sky:

A friend of mine writes, squatted on the floor.

And scrapes by yellow spluttering candle light.

"Ah, hush!" he breathes, and gazes at the door.

That creaks on rusty hinge, in pale affright!

(No words spoke he, nor I, for well we knew

What rueful things these sounds did tell.)

A pauseā€”I hear the trees sway sighing thro'

The gloom, like dismal moan of hollow knell.

Then out across the dark, and startling me

Bursts forth a laugh, a shout of drunken glee!

France, 1917.