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19.2: Returning, We Hear the Larks

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  • Sombre the night is.
    And though we have our lives, we know
    What sinister threat lurks there.

    Dragging these anguished limbs, we only know
    This poison- blasted track opens on our camp –
    On a little safe sleep.

    But hark! joy – joy – strange joy.
    Lo! heights of night ringing with unseen larks.
    Music showering our upturned list’ning faces.

    Death could drop from the dark
    As easily as song –
    But song only dropped,
    Like a blind man’s dreams on the sand
    By dangerous tides,
    Like a girl’s dark hair for she dreams no ruin lies there,
    Or her kisses where a serpent hides.

    This item is from The First World War Poetry Digital Archive, University of Oxford (; © POEMS OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR: ‘NEVER SUCH INNOCENCE’, ED. MARTIN STEPHEN (EVERYMAN, 1995), p. 169.

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