Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - The Listeners

"The Listeners" by J. M. Rose-Troup First published in London in November 1917 and reprinted in February 1918 The Muse in Arms comprised, in the words of editor E. B. Osborne:

"A collection of war poems, for the most part written in the field of action, by seamen, soldiers, and flying men who are serving, or have served, in the Great War".

Below is one of seventeen poems featured within the Moods and Memories section of the collection.

You can access other poems within the section via the sidebar to the right.

The Listeners
by J. M. Rose-Troup

(Weilburg A.D. Lahn, May 1916)

The guns!
Far, far away in the distance we hear them.
Oh, for a chance to be there, to be near them,
Borne on the wind in the stillness of night
Far-away sounds of the thunderous fight.

Nightly ere sleeping our senses we strain,
Faintly we hear it - the muttered refrain.
Would we were free to be fighting again.
Hark to the guns!

Well do we know all the horrors of night,
Darkness made day by the calcium light,
Nothing but wreckage revealed to the sight.
Hark to the guns!

Yet would we break inactivity's spell
Just for one night in that shuddering hell,
Thunder of guns and the scream of the shell.
Hark to the guns!

The guns!
Breathless we wait for the news of the fray,
News of the guns that are nearer to-day.
Nearer they mutter, they thunder, they roll!
Nearer to victory, nearer their goal.

The "linseed lancers" was the Anzac nickname assigned to members of the Australian Field Ambulance.

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