Birdsong Quotes

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-No one in England knows what this is like. If they could see the way these men live they would not believe their eyes. This is not a war, this is an exploration of how far men can be degraded. -You see their faces and think they will take no more, that something in them will say, enough, no one can do this. -Where the telegrams would be delivered, the houses where the blinds would be drawn, where low mans would come in the afternoon behind closed doors…to pup up only granite slabs instead of living flesh. -If I am fighting on behalf of anyone, it is those who have died. He had thought himself immune to death; he thought he had hardened himself against it…When there was a battle or a raid, the expected to die.” None of these men would admit that what they saw and what they did were beyond the boundaries of human behaviour. He found it difficult to think of words of encouragement or inspiration when he himself did not believe there was a purpose to the war or an end in sight. He fell to his knees but did not pray…Horrocks pulled the silver cross from his chest and hurled it from him…Jack knew what had died in him.

(Colonel Barclay)
You are going to fight and you are going to win. You are going to inflict such a defeat on the enemy that he will never recover. I confidently expect that only a handful of shots will be fired at you. I believe we shall take dinner at Bapaume. (compare to Blackadder)

Like a lot of men from that generation, he never really recovered. Other single men moved, and began to come up like worms from their shellholes, limping, crawling, dragging themselves out. They had seen things no human eyes had looked on before, and they had not turned their gaze away. Description of guns:

Shaking down the dust of centuries from the rafters
Like a clearing of the throat
Ringing brass note
Like a sustained roll of timpani
A shameful flock around the padre

(wire hasn’t been cut)
It’s a staff cockup. Haig, Rawlinson, the lot....
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