As 1918 dawned and the Great War entered another phase I wonder what was going through the minds of those who were still fighting and of those who waited at home for their safe return.
Dawn on the Somme
Last night rain fell over the scarred plateau
And now from the dark horizon, dazzling, flies
Arrow on fire-plumed arrow to the skies
Shot from the bright arc of Apollo's bow;
And from the wild and writhen waste below,
From flashing pools and mounds lit one by one,
O is it mist or are these companies
Of morning heroes who arise, arise
With thrusting arms, with limbs and hair aglow
Toward the risen god, upon whose brow
Burns the gold laurel of all victories,
Hero and hero's god, th' invincible Sun?
Robert Nichols (1893-1944) was a playwright and poet. Born into a wealthy Essex family, he was educated at Winchester College and Trinity College, Oxford. At the outbreak of World War I, he left Oxford to serve as a second lieutenant in the Royal Field artillery. However, after suffering from shell shock in 1916, he served only a short time in France before he was invalided out of the army. And although his active service was short, he is still recognised as one of the earliest soldier poets of World War I.
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