The Road is thronged with women; soldiers pass
And halt, but never see them; yet they’re here—
A patient crowd along the sodden grass,
Silent, worn out with waiting, sick with fear.
The Road goes crawling up a long hillside,
All ruts and stones and sludge, and the emptied dregs
Of battle thrown in heaps; here where they died
Are stretched big-bellied horses with stiff legs,
And dead men, bloody-fingered from the fight,
Stare up at cavern’d darkness winking white.
You in the bomb-scorched kilt, poor sprawling Jock,
You tottered here and fell, and stumbled on,
Half-dazed for want of sleep: no dream would mock
Your reeling brain with comforts lost and gone.
You did not feel her arms about your knees,
Her blind caress, her lips upon your head:
Too tired for thoughts of home and love and ease,
The Road would serve you well enough for bed.