Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work -
I am the grass; I cover all.
And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?Where are we now?
I am the grass. Let me work.
Commentary: This well known poem compels me not for the simple anti-war theme, but for its reflection on the fleeting nature of humanity. By evoking the names from horrific battles, the poet conjurs the great demons, but then, almost undetected, he contrasts the simple, mundane situation of a passenger on a train asking where they are, against the vanishing sweep of time. The grass stands for nature, or time, or a combination of all the forces of the universe that grind against us mortals, I am not sure, but under its slow, inexorable work, even the most terrible events bleed into forgotten history.