sleep. Hour after hour they ponder the warm field. In the final stanza Owen depicts the hell that the soldiers are rushing into. Calm before storm but pathos too with Gospel-like image of the brambles (Christ's crown of thorns). The inclusion of the phrase "some say" is ambiguous; it could be wry, or it could be musing. Even in the first two stanzas, however, there are hints that all is not well. The green fields seem infinite. This waiting comes to an end when the "May breeze" becomes a "cold gust" and the men hear "the little word" that alerts them to the imminent battle. (11-12) The soul grows sharp when healing stops and capricious nature signals menace. Leapt to swift unseen bullets, or went.
Finally, the soldiers emerge back into the "peaceful air" but their mouths are silent. To face the stark, blank sky beyond the ridge, Knowing their feet had come to the end of the world. The men rise up and climb over the hill, racing together across the field. Those who are running and leaping to avoid bullets or face the hot "fury of hell's upsurge" or fall beyond the verge may have been swooped up by God, some say. There is a sense of watchfulness and waiting. (20-1) With the introduction of the soul, a spiritual dimension to the poem is confirmed. With superhuman inhumanities, Long-famous glories, immemorial shames, and crawling slowly back, have by degrees. Simcox wonders, "Why are they silent about their dead comrades? But many there stood still 5 To face the stark, blank sky beyond the ridge, 6 Knowing their feet had come to the end of the world.