What a hole!
All holes; nothing whole;
Funkholes, shell holes, rat holes,
Unholy, unwholesome, Hell.
Much mess, megrims, melancholy,
Melancholy, immeasurable melancholy, tragic, weird;
Weird, odd, extraordinarily odd, rum.
(Rum, butter, biscuits, bully, tea,
More rum, no rum, nothing but petrol water.)
Arms and equipment,
Arms and legs, corpses, bodies, Bosche;
Armless horrors, harmless, hideous haters, hideous, hardening Ha! Ha!
Huns hunted; helmet hunting, souvenir hunting,
Buttons and badges, badges of rank, rigid rankers.
Rank, bad, rotten, rancidity.
And the mud –
Paste musty; slush and water, bloody water, chlorinated water,
Slime, slithery slough, bog, quagmire, beastly.
Puddles, pools and ponds
Wearing waders, weary waders; waders weak, wonky gone west,
’Ware wet feet. Where whale oil?
But where? Where? Where?
Cold, keen, cutting excruciating fire.
Firing, fire flingers, firelights, flash, whizz, whistle, crump!
(where was it?)
Crumps, coalboxes, Jack Johnsons, whizzbangs – O jumping Jehosophat,
French mortars and aerial torpedoes; minenwerfer and machine-guns,
Slingers and snipers, shots,
Good shots, bad shots, blighties, base buried or back again to billets,
Bother, Back again to billets,
Trudging trenches, trails and tracks; ruts and roads, real roads;
Tramping roads roaring with the nine point two.
Huts, heavy roads, habitations, houses – Heaven!
Billets, blankets and beds,
Blessed beds; bon, billowy beds; planks and straw,
Beds and bye-bye.