David Jones, a poet and painter, served as a private during the First World War, but it was not until 1937 that his epic war poem In Parenthesis was published. Jones tried to join the Artists’ Rifles in the summer of 1914 but was rejected: in January 1915 he managed to enlist in the newly-formed 15th (London Welsh) Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. The Battalion went to France in December 1915, moving to the Somme in the summer of 1916. David Jones was wounded in July 1916 and returned to England to convalesce; returning to the Front Line in 1917 he was evacuated to Ireland in February 1918 suffering from severe trench fever.
But they already look at their watches
and it is zero minus seven minutes
seven minutes to go . . . . and seventy times seven times to the minute
this drumming of the diaphragm.
From deeply inward thumping all through you beating
No place to be still in
Photograph of David Jones © The Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum/The David Jones Literary Estate
Resources for David Jones
Poetry Foundation article: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/david-jones
Tim Kendall’s analysis: http://war-poets.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/david-jones-in-parenthesis.html