A Highland Regiment/In No Man's Land


THE hedge on the left, and the trench on the right,
And the whispering, rustling wood between,
And who knows where in the wood to-night
Death or capture may lurk unseen.
The open field and the figures lying
Under the shade of the apple trees—
Is it the wind in the branches sighing.
Or a German trying to stop a sneeze?

Louder the voices of night come thronging,
But over them all the sound is clear.
Taking me back to the place of my longing
And the cultured sneezes I used to hear.
Lecture-time and my tutor's " handker "
Stopping his period's rounded close,
Like the frozen hand of the German ranker
Down in a ditch with a cold in his nose.

Fm cold, too, and a stealthy snuffle
From the man with a pistol covering me,
And the Bosche moving off with a snap and a shuffl«
Break the windows of memory—
I can't make sure till the moon gets lighter—
Anyway shooting is over bold.
Oh, damn you, get back to your trench, you blighter,
I really can't shoot a man with a cold.

Hammerhead Wood
Thiepval, 1915