As the team's head-brass
AS THE TEAM'S HEAD BRASS by EDWARD THOMAS
As the team's head-brass flashed out on the turn The lovers disappeared into the wood. I sat among the boughs of the fallen elm That strewed the angle of the fallow, and Watched the plough narrowing a yellow square Of charlock. Every time the horses turned Instead of treading me down, the ploughman leaned Upon the handles to say or ask a word, About the weather, next about the war. Scraping the share he faced towards the wood, And screwed along the furrow till the brass flashed Once more.
The blizzard felled the elm whose crest
I sat in, by a woodpecker's round hole, The ploughman said. 'When will they take it away?' 'When the war's over.' So the talk began--- One minute and an interval of ten, A minute more and the same interval. 'Have you been out?' 'No.' 'And don't want to, perhaps?' 'If I could only come back again, I should. I could spare an arm. I shouldn't want to lose A leg. If I should lose my head, why, so, I should want nothing more . . . Have many gone From here?' 'Yes.' 'Many lost?' 'Yes, a good few. Only two teams work on the farm this year. One of my mates is dead. The second day In France they killed him. It was back in March, The very night of the blizzard, too. Now if He had stayed here we should have moved the tree.' 'And I should not have sat here. Everything Would have been different. For it would have been Another world.' 'Ay, and a better, though If we could see all all might seem good.' Then The lovers came out of the wood again: The horses started and for the last time I watched the clods crumble and topple over After the ploughshare and the stumbling team.
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|Author||Thomas, Edward (1878-1917)|
|Title||As the team's head-brass|
|Copyright||Copyright Edward Thomas, 1979, reproduced under licence from Faber and Faber Ltd.|
|First line||As the team's head-brass flashed out on the turn|
|Publication source||Edward Thomas Collected Poems|
|Publication editor||Thomas, George|
|Publishers||Faber and Faber|
|Digital repository||The First World War Poetry Digital Archive|