Three weeks gone and the combatants gone
returning over the nightmare ground
we found the place again, and found
the soldier sprawling in the sun.

The frowning barrel of his gun
overshadowing. As we came on
that day, he hit my tank with one
like the entry of a demon.

Look. Here in the gunpit spoil
the dishonoured picture of his girl
who has put: Steffi. Vergissmeinnicht.
in a copybook gothic script.

We see him almost with content,
abased, and seeming to have paid
and mocked at by his own equipment
that's hard and good when he's decayed.

But she would weep to see today
how on his skin the swart flies move;
the dust upon the paper eye
and the burst stomach like a cave.

For here the lover and killer are mingled
who had one body and one heart.
And death who had the soldier singled
has done the lover mortal hurt.

by Keith Douglas

Other poems of DOUGLAS (7)

Comments (5)

What a beastly, cruel father! Cannot this man allow his son to be himself? What is so bad about going to see a play, and appreciating the arts? One can only hope that Robert Graves was not writing of his own father! So well-written, that I obviously got quite caught- up in it!
this was interesting i enjoyed reading it.
When human are down with life, Penny spent in joy and strife. Now, they return to the father with answers, Wether to be welcomed or thrown to the panthers.
The work seemed like a script of play, while the play around them seemed like a great work by a great poet............ very beautifully composed.........thanks for sharing
Such an interesting write by Robert Graves👍👍👍