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His fingers wake, and flutter; up the bed.

His eyes come open with a pull of will,

Helped by the yellow may-flowers by his head.

The blind-cord drawls across the window-sill . . .

What a smooth floor the ward has! What a rug!

Who is that talking somewhere out of sight?

Three flies are creeping round the shiny jug . . .

‘Nurse! Doctor!’—‘Yes, all right, all right.’


But sudden evening muddles all the air—

There seems no time to want a drink of water.

Nurse looks so far away. And here and there

Music and roses burst through crimson slaughter.

He can’t remember where he saw blue sky.

More blankets. Cold. He’s cold. And yet so hot.

And there’s no light to see the voices by . . .

There is no time to ask—he knows not what.


Wilfred Owen


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