Killed

Original Text: 
The Collected Poems of T. W. H. Crosland (London: Martin Secker, 1917): 112-13. PR 4518 C686A17
1Lieutenant Keen was "great," and yet
3And something smacked him in the head,
4And he lay down as dead as dead.
6And we set to and buried him;
7All night he lay and took his rest
9All day he lay in Flanders ground
10And rested, rested, good and sound;
11But when the dog-star glittered clear
12He calls, "By Jove, it's dark down here!"
13"Sergeant, ain't I for rounds?" sings he,
15And he was answered, with respect,
16"Here, sir -- all present and correct!"
17And -- sure as I'm a man -- at night
18He comes along the trench, as white
19And cheerful as the blessèd saints,
20To see if there was "no complaints."
21They cannot quieten that boy's ghost,
23They mark him "Killed," but you may swear
24He's with us, be it foul or fair.
25He goes before us like young fire,
26A soldier of his soul's desire;
27Through the hell-reek that smothers us,
28He fathers us and mothers us.
29When we have pushed the German swine
30Across the pretty river Rhine,
31Maybe he'll bide where he was spent
32And lie down happy and content.

Notes

2] parapet: earth rampart in front of a soldiers' trench. Back to Line
5] sluttered: dirtied, mud-covered. Back to Line
8] Flanders: region in southwest Belgium, especially near Ypres, in which many battles were fought in World War I. Cf. Dr. John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields." Back to Line
14] bally: euphemism for the curse word "bloody." Back to Line
22] Last Post: the traditional trumpet or bugle call sounded to mark a fallen soldier's completion of his duty. Routinely, the last post of the day is a trumpet call at the close of the day's activities at a military base. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1916
Publication Notes: 
War Poems, by "X" [1916].
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2002
Rhyme: 
Form: