First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Apples And Water

APPLES AND WATER by ROBERT GRAVES

Dust in a cloud, blinding weather, Drums that rattle and roar! A mother and daughter stood together By their cottage door.

'Mother, the heavens are bright like brass, The dust is shaken high, With labouring breath the soldiers pass, Their lips are cracked and dry.

'Mother, I'll throw them apples down, I'll fetch them cups of water.' The mother turned with an angry frown, Holding back her daughter.

'But, mother, see, they faint with thirst, They march away to war.' 'Ay, daughter, these are not the first And there will come yet more.

'There is no water can supply them In western streams that flow; There is no fruit can satisfy them On orchard-trees that grow.

'Once in my youth I gave, poor fool, A soldier apples and water; And may I die before you cool Such drouth as his, my daughter.'

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