Butchers and Tombs

After so much battering of fire and steel

It had seemed well to cover them with Cotswold stone —

And shortly praising their courage and quick skill

Leave them buried, hidden till the slow, inevitable

Change came should make them service of France alone.

But the time's hurry, the commonness of the tale

Made it a thing not fitting ceremonial,

And so the disregarders of blister on heel,

Pack on shoulder, barrage and work at the wires,

One wooden cross had for ensign of honour and life gone —

Save when the Gloucesters turning sudden to tell to one

Some joke, would remember and say — " That joke is done,"

Since he who would understand was so cold he could not feel,

And clay binds hard, and sandbags get rotten and crumble.

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