The candle-stumps stand there staring solemnly.
Across the nocturnal vault of the church
Moans go drifting and choking words.
There’s a stench of blood, pus, shit and sweat.
Bandages ooze away underneath torn uniforms.
Clammy trembling hands and wasted faces.
Bodies stay propped up as their dying heads slump down.
In the distance the battle thunders grimly on,
Day and night, groaning and grumbling non-stop,
And to the dying men patiently waiting for their graves
It sounds for all the world like the words of God.
November 1914 Trans. Patrick Bridgwater