“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.