What are so noticeably lacking
in Mathew Brady’s interviews
with the dead are the smells;
likewise in Ambrose Bierce’s corpses
their faces gnawed away by hogs
near the Greenbrier, Cheat, Gauley;
or the wounded roasted in gullies
a foot deep in leaves
at Shiloh, Spotsylvania;
and you, reader, cannot supply
what is left out. So how much more
eludes us? . . . the scent in the rain.
More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.