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The Leveller a poem by Robert Graves

The Leveller
Robert Graves

Near Martinpuich that night of hell 
Two men were struck by the same shell, 
Together tumbling in one heap 
Senseless and limp like slaughtered sheep. 

One was a pale eighteen-year-old, 
Blue-eyed and thin and not too bold, 
Pressed for the war not ten years too soon, 
The shame and pity of his platoon. 

The other came from far-off lands 
With brisling chin and whiskered hands, 
He had known death and hell before 
In Mexico and Ecuador.

Yet in his death this cut-throat wild 
Groaned 'Mother! Mother!' like a child,
While the poor innocent in man's clothes 
Died cursing God with brutal oaths. 

Old Sergeant Smith, kindest of men, 
Wrote out two copies and then 
Of his accustomed funeral speech 
To cheer the womanfolk of each:- 

"He died a hero's death: and we 
His comrades of 'A' Company 
Deeply regret his death: we shall 
All deeply miss so true a pal." 


The Leveller a poem by Robert Graves


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