Our last days

Forest Path in the Ardennes” by *rboed* is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

So I stood at the gates of Atlantis, 
But no longer did I want to go in, 
For through life's labours, its many chambers of sin, 
I took my pleasure as though it was fair practice; 
Repetitions for the Heavenly second life, 
The fey promises to begin. . . 

Riven by modern gunnery, those that survive
Find themselves enfeebled by neurasthenia, 
Weakened nerves, or so definitions describe; 
The Sisters that attend to our privileged bodies, our whims
Cast care godsend, although we are not Catholic nor prim;
To the fact we are only soldiers, solitary men
Who in action resemble Angels, though we have none:
How sweet and honourable is the glory we have won?

Toiling the fields of our fathers' dreams, 
Emboldened in the public schools of home counties; 
Wisden our second Bible in English lessons metaphysic: 
How swift is this tribal possession called 'youth',
Bibulous, futile obsession, to which we know
There is no return ticket. . . 

We poets, cowards, officers among honourable men,
Though weak of mind, shall go a-roving for ever  in the Ardennes; 

Why? Is the question no citizen has asked, 
Does history favour those whose lives are charged
To face Destiny undaunted, unmask Fate; 
So becoming vaunted names upon memorial walls, 
In the marmoreal tombs and on public school halls. 


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