Verse > Anthologies > George Herbert Clarke, ed. > A Treasury of War Poetry
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George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953).  A Treasury of War Poetry.  1917.
 
75. Retreat
 
By Wilfrid Wilson Gibson
 
 
BROKEN, bewildered by the long retreat
  Across the stifling leagues of southern plain,
  Across the scorching leagues of trampled grain,
Half-stunned, half-blinded, by the trudge of feet
And dusty smother of the August heat,        5
  He dreamt of flowers in an English lane,
  Of hedgerow flowers glistening after rain—
All-heal and willow-herb and meadow-sweet.
 
All-heal and willow-herb and meadow-sweet—
  The innocent names kept up a cool refrain—        10
All-heal and willow-herb and meadow-sweet,
  Chiming and tinkling in his aching brain,
  Until he babbled like a child again—
“All-heal and willow-herb and meadow-sweet.”
 

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