Gurney, Ivor - Strange Hells
Type of Spiritual Experience
C R W Nevinson - Machine-gun 1915
A description of the experience
There are strange Hells within the minds War made
Not so often, not so humiliatingly afraid
As one would have expected - the racket and fear guns made.
One Hell the Gloucester soldiers they quite put out:
Their first bombardment, when in combined black shout
Of fury, guns aligned, they ducked lower their heads -
And sang with diaphragms fixed beyond all dreads,
That tin and stretched-wire tinkle, that blither of tune:
Apres la guerre fini', till Hell all had come down.
Twelve-inch, six-inch, and eighteen pounders hammering Hell's thunders.
Where are they now, on State-doles, or showing shop-patterns
Or walking town to town sore in borrowed tatterns
Or begged. Some civic routine one never learns.
The heart burns - but has to keep out of face how heart burns.