Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs. . .
‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen
Down the long straight road
he butts the east wind,
pushing hard for home.
Slow beyond enduring.
He’d come back from Flanders
to the fens of South Holland;
to clear the ditches once again,
hack down the man-high sedge.
Few fellow-labourers shared his joy
each time he stayed his work to watch
the alchemy of dyke and drain
make liquid silver of leaden skies.
Fewer still could fathom why he,
from each neglected cut and lock,
proclaimed a hard-won victory
for Everyman over God’s neglect.
And none at all will listen
once he starts to say he sees
King Neptune on his scaly knees
at bay, in every ploughed field.
Turn from the wind ‒
you too might hear it;
the peewit squeak of pedals
on the long straight road.
Since leaving teaching Philip Dunn
has returned to writing and con-
tributed to local literary magazines.
This is his first poem in a nationally