First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Inspection

INSPECTION by WILFRED OWEN

'You! What d'you mean by this?' I rapped. 'You dare come on parade like this?' 'Please, sir, it's---' ''Old yer mouth,' the sergeant snapped. 'I takes 'is name, sir?'---'Please, and then dismiss.'

Some days 'confined to camp' he got, For being 'dirty on parade'. He told me, afterwards, the damnèd spot Was blood, his own. 'Well, blood is dirt,' I said.

'Blood's dirt,' he laughed, looking away, Far off to where his wound had bled And almost merged for ever into clay. 'The world is washing out its stains,' he said. 'It doesn't like our cheeks so red: Young blood's its great objection. But when we're duly white-washed, being dead, The race will bear Field Marshal God's inspection.'

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