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On Active Service: The Battalion is Now on Rest by Ivor Gurney

Written by The Reader, 9th November 2018

This week we're sharing a daily poetry reading from our On Active Service 1914-1918 collection as part of our Armistice commemorations. 

For our final poetry reading of the week, our founder and director Jane Davis reads The Battalion is Now On Rest by Ivor GurneyThis poem and all the poems we've shared this week are available in a free, downloadable extract from the On Active Service anthology. Find out more.

You can also read along with the poem below.

The Battalion Is Now On Rest  

(To ‘La Comtesse’)  

Walking the village street, to watch the stars and find 

Some peace like the old peace, some soothe for soul and mind, 

The noise of laughter strikes me as I move on my way 

Towards England – westward – and the last glow of day. 


And here is the end of houses. I turn on my heel, 

And stay where those voices a moment made me feel 

As I were on Cotswold, with nothing else to do 

Than stare at the old houses, to taste the night-dew; 


To answer friendly greetings from rough voices kind… 

Oh, one may try for ever to be calm and resigned, 

A red blind at evening sets the poor heart on fire –  

Or a child’s face, a sunset – with the old hot desire.  

Ivor Gurney

This week we're commemorating the centenary of the armistice with poetry readings from our anthology On Active Service 1914-1918. We've made a collection of poems from the anthology available as a free digital download so that you can read along at home. Find out more.


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