The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Dancing with Mr. D

January 26th, 2015 · No Comments

“We go up the line again. On the way we pass through a devastated wood with the tree trunks shattered and the ground ploughed up. At several places there are tremendous craters. ‘Great guns, something’s hit that,’ I say to Kat. ‘Trench mortars,’ he replies, and then points up at one of the trees. In the branches dead men are hanging. A naked soldier is squatting in the fork of a tree, he still has his helmet on, otherwise he is entirely unclad. There is only half of him sitting up there, the top half, the legs are missing. ‘What can that mean?’ I ask. ‘He’s been blown out of his clothes,’ mutters Tjaden. ‘It’s funny,’ says Kat, ‘we have seen that several times now. If a mortar gets you it blows you clean out of your clothes. It’s the concussion that does it.’ I search around. And so it is. Here hang bits of uniform, and somewhere else is plastered a bloody mess that was once a human limb. Over there lies a body with nothing but a piece of the underpants on one leg and the collar of the tunic around its neck. Otherwise it is naked and the clothes are hanging up in the tree. Both arms are missing as though they had been pulled out. I discover one of them twenty yards off in a shrub. The dead man lies on his face. There, where the arm wounds are, the earth is black with blood. Underfoot the leaves are scratched up as though the man had been kicking.” – Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front (trans. Wheen)

Tags: Erich Maria Remarque · Lit & Crit · The Great War

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