After Combat

A poem by Alfred Lichtenstein

In the sky the howitzers no longer explode,
The cannoneers rest next to their guns.
The infantry pitch tents now,
And the pale moon slowly rises.
On yellow fields in red trousers, the French are ablaze,
Ashen pale from death and powder.
Among them German medics squat.
The day becomes grayer, its sun redder.
Field kitchens steam. Towns are put to the torch.
Broken carts stand at roadsides.
Panting cyclists, hot and tanned, loiter
At a scorched wooden fence.
And orderlies are already moving
From regiment to division.

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