In No Man's Land

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A Highland Regiment and Other Poems by Ewart Alan Mackintosh
In No Man's Land
Mackintosh's Biography is titled from the final line of this poem

THE hedge on the left, and the trench on the right,
And the whispering, rustling wood between,
And who knows where in the wood to-night
Death or capture may lurk unseen.
The open field and the figures lying
Under the shade of the apple trees —
Is it the wind in the branches sighing.
Or a German trying to stop a sneeze ?

Louder the voices of night come thronging,
But over them all the sound is clear.
Taking me back to the place of my longing
And the cultured sneezes I used to hear.
Lecture-time and my tutor's " handker "
Stopping his period's rounded close,
Like the frozen hand of the German ranker
Down in a ditch with a cold in his nose.

Fm cold, too, and a stealthy snuffle
From the man with a pistol covering me,
And the Bosche moving off with a snap and a shuffl« 
Break the windows of memory —
I can't make sure till the moon gets lighter —
Anyway shooting is over bold.
Oh, damn you, get back to your trench, you blighter,
I really can't shoot a man with a cold.



Hammerhead Wood

Thiepval, 1915