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Round, coiled round on itself,
To lurch pointed bullets true
A thousand yards. Two hours
Testing the severe materiality of steel:
Steel thought, steel calculation,
Severe, absolute in hardness,
Loyal to existence—
It could transcend sense sogginess and flesh.
Two hours the soldier loved his steel,
Its truth, its edge,
Its fearlessness of fact, its bitterness of line,
Its certainty and decision.


Prisoner in life, Rausch, a private,
Thumped at steel-clad existence

Caught in the impassive tank
Of the dull day, firm
With a cool crust of metal
Wrapped around his fluid soul,
Rausch thumped and failed
To break the riveting.

Booze Rausch found one day

At a small bar under Corrine's room,
And soul found vent |
In a joyous spout. -
Rausch was a gush
Out of a windowless, dull tank;
Soldier life, armor of discipline,
The close tyranny of small events,
Broke, and Rausch, full of booze,
Spouted himself expressively.


Rausch died of tremens one pay-day
While finding his legitimate soul.


The wind soured into night.
Acid of a narrow rain
Pitted the sentries' paces
With spits of cold.

The wind grew in hoarse breaths
With the night's age,
Until the night was wind,
And darkness spouted on the prone earth
From the West's nozzle.

Wind and night, roaring
Like mated beasts,
Pressed huge bodies
On the bulging walls
Of tied Sibley tents.

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T IS difficult to say anything about the war without being platitudinous—in these days when so much is being said, and said often absorbingly well, by people who are in it. And yet the emotion of the moment is too keen for silence, even if too keen for adequate utterance. What right have we to live when so many are dying? What right have we elders to send youth into battle while we keep our safe places by the fire? What right has the thinker to his problem, the artist to his vision, the poet to his song, while fresh lives are giving up their hope of thought and art and song? How can we take the new era at our soldiers' hands—how can we who have laid on their shoulders the burdeg of the past, accept the future from them who should have lived to possess it, from them to whom not the past but the future belonged? All other issues seem small beside this heroic issue on which we stake those infinitely precious lives. If agriculture and commerce become the feeders, the tool-makers, of war, the arts seem at first glance to be a pottering with toys, a lisping of words, out of relation with these marching armies, out of the current of great events. What flattering unction shall we poets lay to our bruised souls as we chant our little songs while battles are won and lost? What are we doing to make the world safe for democracy? Well, it may be that we are doing more than we know. Poets have made more wars than kings, and it is for them, sand not for kings, to make an end of war by removing its veil of glamour. Kings are, after all, impotent. It was men's imaginations that once gave them power and splendor, but for a century or two men's imaginations have been dethroning them and stripping their pitiful figures bare. “War remains what it always was—a contest not so much of material forces as of spiritual forces.” And the poet, the artist, are makers of spiritual forces, leaders of men's imaginations. For years the poets, the artists, have been dictating terms of peace to the next age. Every painter of his own woodlot, every poet singing the beauty of working-girls instead of queens, or the bravery of common men instead of princes, has been doing his bit to democratize the world. The work has been done not only by Titans like Whitman but also by the sheer mass and weight of lesser men moved by the same spirit and leading their neighbors and admirers in the same direction. The Kaiser is a man of straw against a force like this. Whitman and Millet beat him before he was born —our soldiers have but to finish the job. ~~ Never was the artist more necessary than now—his freedom of spirit, his self-assertion, his creative fire. When the whole world is in the melting-pot, when civilization is to be reminted and no one can tell what stamp its face and reverse will bear; when ideas, which flowed hitherto in separate channels, are gathering into vast tides that overwash the boundaries of nations; when this swarming earth, sun-lit, moon-guarded, seems a little ball fingered for a throw by some colossal Pitcher with his eye on the Ultimate Event—

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