Gurney, Ivor - De profundis
Type of Spiritual Experience
Wyndham Lewis - A Battery Shelled
A description of the experience
If only this fear would leave me I could dream of Crickley Hill
And a hundred thousand thoughts of home would visit
my heart in sleep;
But here the peace is shattered all day by the devil's will,
And the guns bark night-long to spoil the velvet silence deep.
O who could think that once we drank in quiet inns and cool
And saw brown oxen trooping the dry sands to slake
Their thirst at the river flowing, or plunged in a silver pool
To shake the sleepy drowse off before well awake?
We are stale here, we are covered body and soul and mind
With mire of the trenches, close clinging and foul,
We have left our old inheritance, our Paradise behind,
And clarity is lost to us and cleanness of soul.
O blow here, you dusk-airs and breaths of half-Iight,
And comfort despairs of your darlings that long
Night and day for sound of your bells, or a sight
Of your tree-bordered lanes, land of blossom and song.
Autumn will be here soon, but the road of coloured leaves
Is not for us, the up and down highway where go
Earth's pilgrims to wonder where Malvern upheaves
That blue-emerald splendour under great clouds of snow.
Some day we'll fill in trenches, level the land and turn
Once more joyful faces to the country where trees
Bear thickly for good drink, where strong sunsets burn
Huge bonfires of glory - O God, send us peace!
Hard it is for men of moors or fens to endure
Exile and hardship, or the northland grey-drear;
But we of the rich plain of sweet airs and pure,
Oh! Death would take so much from us, how should we not fear?