â€˜FALL in! Now get a move on.â€™ (Curse the rain.) We splash away along the straggling village, Out to the flat rich country, green with June... And sunset flares across wet crops and tillage, Blazing with splendour-patches. (Harvest soon, Up in the Line.) â€˜Perhaps the Warâ€™ll be done â€˜By Christmas-Day. Keep smiling then, old son.â€™
Hereâ€™s the Canal: itâ€™s dusk; we cross the bridge. â€˜Lead on there, by platoons.â€™ (The Lineâ€™s a-glare With shell-fire through the poplars; distant rattle Of rifles and machine-guns.) â€˜Fritz is there! â€˜Christ, ainâ€™t it lively, Sergeant? Isâ€™t a battle?â€™ More rain: the lightning blinks, and thunder rumbles. â€˜Thereâ€™s over-head artillery!â€™ some chap grumbles.
Whatâ€™s all this mob at the cross-roads? Where are the guides?... â€˜Lead on with number One.â€™ And off they go. â€˜Three minute intervals.â€™ (Poor blundering files, Sweating and blindly burdened; whoâ€™s to know If death will catch them in those two dark miles?) More rain. â€˜Lead on, Head-quarters.â€™ (Thatâ€™s the lot.) â€˜Whoâ€™s that?... Oh, Sergeant-Major, donâ€™t get shot! â€˜And tell me, have we won this war or not?â€™