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In No Man's Land

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<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. <poem> Hammerhead Wood Thiepval, 1915