THE NEAR ENEMY

Rash games of chess do hateful lovers play,
Their towers, queens and kings all thrown away
In wild offensives, desperate retreats.
To that sick inner-sounding drum that beats
In terror of some tender thing just killed!
New warriors on the battle-field, unskilled
In prudent war-fare: friends of yesterday
What they most cherished seem most keen to slay.
More treacherous than Prussians in command,
Entrenched and feigning not to understand,
They plan how best to poison, maim and mar!
Masked in bad silence, turned against their star.
Through what black forces are so changed to foes
Those fed on our high hearts, yes, even those!



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