| The Silent One
Who died on the wires, and hung there, one of two --
Who for his hours of life had chattered through
Infinite lovely chatter of Bucks accent:
Yet faced unbroken wires; stepped over, and went
A noble fool, faithful to his stripes -- and ended.
But I weak, hungry, and willing only for the chance
Of line -- to fight in the line, lay down under unbroken
Wires, and saw the flashes and kept unshaken,
Till the politest voice -- a finicking accent, said:
Do you think you might crawl through there: there's a hole.'
Darkness, shot at: I smiled, as politely replied --
I'm afraid not, Sir.' There was no hole no way to be seen
Nothing but chance of death, after tearing of clothes.
Kept flat, and watched the darkness, hearing bullets whizzing --
And thought of music -- and swore deep heart's oaths
(Polite to God) and retreated and came on again,
Again retreated -- a second time faced the screen.
Ivor Gurney (1890-1937)