What did I gain; what medal did I earn
That showed I gave–and nothing but my best–
When what would die in battle was a dream,
Such dreams as fade away when once confessed?
What did I profit; what was left to learn
When fighting for a dream had left me vexed
And reeling from this death in the extreme
Rapidity of my defence? What next
Would fade; when hence, what of my heart’s concern
Forbade continuance; what prayer could
I speak, or beg, or wrest of my esteem?
And who would answer me when next I stood?
Yet I return to war–still feinting, deft–
This battle to redeem, with nothing left.
This sonnet is part of a short sequence; click here to read it all: