1. Bayonet Charge - The Poem
Bayonet Charge - By Ted Hughes
Suddenly he awoke and was running - raw In raw-seamed hot khaki, his sweat heavy, Stumbling across a field of clods towards a green hedge That dazzled with rifle fire, hearing Bullets smacking the belly out of the air - He lugged a rifle numb as a smashed arm; The patriotic tear that had brimmed in his eye Sweating like molten iron from the centre of his chest, -
In bewilderment then he almost stopped - In what cold clockwork of the stars and the nations Was he the hand pointing that second? He was running Like a man who has jumped up in the dark and runs Listening between his footfalls for the reason Of his still running, and his foot hung like Statuary in mid-stride. Then the shot-slashed furrows
Threw up a yellow hare that rolled like a flame And crawled in a threshing circle, its mouth wide Open silent, its eyes standing out. He plunged past with his bayonet toward the green hedge, King, honour, human dignity, etcetera Dropped like luxuries in a yelling alarm To get out of that blue crackling air His terror’s touchy dynamite.