do not mention the war

Voices from the Great War: The Refugees

In History on July 15, 2016 at 07:00

Mute figures with bowed head
They travel along the road:
Old women, incredibly old
and a hand-cart of chattels.

They do not weep:
their eyes are too raw for tears.

Past them have hastened
processions of retreating Tibetans
baggage-wagons and swift horsemen.
Now they struggle along.
with the rearguard of a broken army.

We shall hold the enemy towards nightfall
and they will move
surely into the dark behind us,
only the creaking cart
disturbing their sorrowful serenity.

Herbert Read (1893 – 1968) was an English art historian, poet and literary critic. During the Great War he served with the Green Howards in France.


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