Seager, Alexandrine – April 1916
(told by one of the 10th)
In fancy now I live it through again.
This day a year ago:
From hostile hills I hear the leaden rain
Still fall on us below
In open boats, and by a pinnace led,
How can we reach the shore?
Beneath these restless waves how many dead
Will sleep for evermore?
Into the water how madly we dash –
Then drenched and dripping reach –
Breathless and gasping (God! Some fool’s been rash.)
This Hell they call the Beach
Some orders float above the deadly din –
There goes my webb away!
Another shell! I’ll hand my ticket in
Without a doubt today.
We’re off; on, ever on, this maddened race,
Down gully and up stepp;
For many a lad too hot this furious pace –
For him a soldiers’ sleep
Like things possessed we go, nor pause for breath;
With bayonets athirst,
For liquid red. Ahead is certain death.
But ah, our vengeance first.
Dazed, weary, bleeding, stiff – I crawl again
Over the hill’s rough crest,
Back to that cursed beach ‘mid rifles’ rain
With one thought only – Rest.
April 25th, 1916