Verse > Siegfried Sassoon > Counter-Attack and Other Poems
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Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967).  Counter-Attack and Other Poems.  1918.

5. Attack


AT dawn the ridge emerges massed and dun 
In the wild purple of the glow’ring sun, 
Smouldering through spouts of drifting smoke that shroud 
The menacing scarred slope; and, one by one, 
Tanks creep and topple forward to the wire.         5
The barrage roars and lifts. Then, clumsily bowed 
With bombs and guns and shovels and battle-gear, 
Men jostle and climb to meet the bristling fire. 
Lines of grey, muttering faces, masked with fear, 
They leave their trenches, going over the top,  10
While time ticks blank and busy on their wrists, 
And hope, with furtive eyes and grappling fists, 
Flounders in mud. O Jesus, make it stop! 


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