The Watchers

I heard the challenge 'Who goes there?'
Close kept but mine through midnight air
I answered and was recognized
And passed, and kindly thus advised;
'There's someone crawling though the grass
By the red ruin, or there was,
And them machine guns been a firin'
All the time the chaps was wirin',
So Sir if you're goin' out
You'll keep you 'ead well down no doubt.'

When will the stern fine 'Who goes there?'
Meet me again in midnight air?
And the gruff sentry's kindness, when
Will kindness have such power again?
It seems as, now I wake and brood,
And know my hour's decreptitude,
That on some dewy parapet
the sentry's spirit gazes yet,
Who will not speak with altered tone
When I am last am seem and known.

by Edmund Blunden

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