Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - Birds in the Trenches
First published in London in November 1917 and reprinted in February 1918 The Muse in Arms comprised, in the words of editor E. B. Osborne:
"A collection of war poems, for the most part written in the field of action, by seamen, soldiers, and flying men who are serving, or have served, in the Great War".
Below is one of fifteen poems featured within the Battle Pieces section of the collection. You can access other poems within the section via the sidebar to the right.
Birds in the Trenches
by Willoughby Weaving
Ye fearless birds that live
and fly where men
Can venture not and live, that even build
Your nests where oft the searching shrapnel shrilled
And conflict rattled like a serpent, when
The hot guns thundered further, and from his den
The little machine-gun spat, and men fell piled
In long-swept lines, as when a scythe has thrilled,
And tall corn tumbled ne'er to rise again.
Ye slight ambassadors twixt
foe and foe,
Small parleyers of peace where no peace is,
Sweet disregarders of man's miseries
And his most murderous methods, winging slow
About your perilous nests - we thank you, so
Unconscious of sweet domesticities.
Duck-Boards comprised slatted wooden planking used for flooring trenches or muddy ground.
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