The Linnet's Wings The Sorrow - Page 65

Poets Who Died in the War Setting out (1913) Ernst Stadler There was a time before, when fanfares bloodily tore apart my own impatient brain, So that, up-rearing like a horse, it bit savagely at the rein. Then tambourines sounded the alarm on every path And a hail of bullets seemed like the loveliest music on earth. Then, suddenly, life stood still. Different paths were leading between the old trees. Rooms were tempting. It was sweet to linger and sweet to rest at ease, And, unchaining my body from reality, like some old dusty armour, To nestle voluptuously in the down of soft dream- hour. But then one morning through the misty air there rolled the echo of the bugle’s ring. Hard, sharp, whistling like a sword-thrust. As if suddenly on darkness lights had started shining. As if, through the tented dawn, trumpet-jolts had roused the sleeping forces, The waking soldiers leapt up and struck their tents and busily harnessed their horses. I was locked into lines like splints that thrust into morning, with fire on helmet and stirrup, Forward, with battle in my blood and in my eyes, and reins held up. Perhaps in the evening, victory marches would play around my head. Perhaps we all would lie somewhere, stretched out among the dead. But before the reaching out and before the sinking, Our eyes would see their fill of world and sun, and take it in, glowing and drinking. 65