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Poem of the week: Aristocrats by Keith Douglas


A horse and his rider are twisted into grotesque coalescence by violent warfare, in this remarkable and direct poem

Aristocrats: “I think I am becoming a God”

The noble horse with courage in his eye
clean in the bone, looks up at a shellburst:
away fly the images of the shires
but he puts the pipe back in his mouth.

“These plains were a cricket pitch
And in the hills the tremendous drop fences
Brought down some of the runners who
Under these stones and earth lounge still
In famous attitudes of unconcern. Listen
Against the bullet cries the simple horn.”

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