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‘Trains In France’ by Winifred Holtby
All through the night among the unseen hills
The fire-eyed trains,
Call to each other their wild seeking cry,
Who thought I had forgotten all the War,
Remember how a night in Camiers,
When, through the darkness, as I wakeful lay,
I heard the trains,
The savage, shrieking trains,
Call to each other their fierce hunting-cry,
Ruthless, inevitable, as the beasts
After their prey.
Made for this end by their creators, they,
Whose business was to capture and devour
Flesh of our flesh, bone of our very bone,
Hour after hour,
Angry and impotent I lay alone
Hearing them hunt you down, my dear, and you,
Hearing them carry you away to die,
Trying to warn you of the beasts, the beasts !
Then, no, thought I ;
So foul a dream as this cannot be true,
And calmed myself, hearing their cry no more.
Till, from the silence, broke a trembling roar,
And I heard, far away,
The growling thunder of their joyless feasts –
The beasts had got you then, the beasts, the beasts –
And knew the nightmare true.