The Tunnel

This is where the water hurries under the archway,
This is where we enter the long tunnel,
And the sunlight is cut by the blade of dark.

So long to have lived in the calculable daylight,
So long to have hoped we might not meet the darkness,
And now it has come. Our eyes must alter focus.

Time was, we saw the country spread before us,
Spread behind, around; charting current-speed, landmarks,
Plotted our course aright. That time is ended.

Now night wins. Strain ahead, discover nothing;
Round, above – nothing but the dank and hollow darkness;
Look back, the arch we entered, and the circle dwindling.

Is there an outlet, and into what country?
We feel the pace; spray mounts; what means that muffled roaring?
But the end of this tunnel no man knows.

(November 1939)

Richard’s choice

Poems of War