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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


Poems of the Great War: Crocuses at Nottingham

  • From a Trench
  • [After reading the correspondence in The Times Literary Supplement, March 1st, 1917.]

  • OUT here the dogs of war run loose,

    Their whipper-in is Death;

    Across the spoilt and battered fields

    We hear their sobbing breath.

    The fields where grew the living corn

    Are heavy with our dead;

    Yet still the fields at home are green

    And I have heard it said:

    There are crocuses at Nottingham!

    Wild crocuses at Nottingham!

    Blue crocuses at Nottingham!

    Though here the grass is red.

    There are little girls at Nottingham

    Who do not dread the Boche,

    Young girls at school at Nottingham

    (Lord! how I need a wash!)

    There are little boys at Nottingham

    Who never hear a gun;

    There are silly fools in Nottingham

    Who think we’re here for fun.

    There are crocuses at Nottingham!

    Young crocus buds at Nottingham!

    Thousands of buds at Nottingham

    Ungathered by the Hun.

    But here we trample down the grass

    Into a purple slime;

    There lives no tree to give the birds

    House room in pairing-time.

    We live in holes, like cellar rats,

    But through the noise and smell

    I often see those crocuses

    Of which the people tell.

    There are crocuses at Nottingham!

    Bright crocuses at Nottingham!

    Real crocuses at Nottingham!

    Because we’re here in Hell.