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This poem is taken from PN Review 28, Volume 9 Number 2, November - December 1982.

Poems Peter Scupham

1 THE SQUARE (Blackdown Camp)

Can you draw down from cold spring air
That whispering host which hovers lightly
Over the strutting heads of our brief Stentors,
Who rasp or wail with bulled and brazen throat,
Bothering our confusions into order?
Here the old regiments were brought to heel,
Dressed, and dismissed into the common clay.
Rosenberg knew it: 1916.
'Slow, rigid is this masquerade',
And the May Queen out of all her finery.
Something passes for sunlight on the Square,
And fading away in combes of Hampshire sand
Guard-room verandahs twist their Indian tricks.
Tongues fade, cross-fade; the air is empty,
Drilled hollow by the legions of the damned
...


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