What is so noticeably lacking
in Mathew Brady’s interviews
with the dead are the smells;

likewise in Ambrose Bierce’s corpses
their faces gnawed by hogs
near the Greenbrier, Cheat, Gauley;

12 issues for £12

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.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated