Trenches: St Eloi

Over the flat slope of St Eloi

A wide wall of sandbags.
Night,
In the silence desultory men
Pottering over small fires, cleaning their mess-tins:
To and fro, from the lines,
Men walk as on Piccadilly,
Making paths in the dark,
Through scattered dead horses,
Over a dead Belgian’s belly.

The Germans have rockets. The English have no rockets.
Behind the line, cannon, hidden, lying back miles.
Before the line, chaos:

My mind is a corridor. The minds about me are corridors.
Nothing suggests itself. There is nothing to do but keep on.

From ‘Trenches: St Eloi’. In: A.R. Jones, The Life and Opinions of Thomas Ernest Hulme (1960)
By Thomas Ernest Hulme

First published in The Low Countries, 1998