An obstacle or entanglement must be broad enough
to not be easily bridged and must be near enough
to be effectively watched at night.
To maintain the obstacle or entanglement
constant care is required. It must be inspected
every night. Resources should be assigned,
permanently, to its repair and improvement.
Every effort must be taken to conceal and protect it;
this is best done by sinking it in hollows or trenches.
Because close and constant observation will be required
loopholes are deemed to be essential.
Build them into your first line.
by Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr.
From Cagibi Issue 2: Four Poems by Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr.
Notes on Sources
This poem draws from “Notes for Infantry Officers on Trench Warfare.” British Trench Warfare 1917-1918: A Reference Manual. General Staff, War Office. London: The Imperial War Museum and Nashville, Tennessee: The Battery Press, 1997. 32-33.
About the Author
Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr. is a poet, translator (of classical and contemporary Persian), and corporate consultant. Her collection of poems, SERIES | INDIA, was published by Four Way Books in April 2015. Other work has appeared in Little Star, Talisman, Paris Lit Up, Poetry International, The Kenyon Review Online, New England Review, Ploughshares, The Harvard Review, Best New Poets 2012, and elsewhere. She serves as a Guest Editor on occasion, and on the boards of Friends of Writers, the Beloit Poetry Journal Foundation, and the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Iran. She has a B.A. and J.D. from Harvard University and an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College. www.elizabethtgrayjr.com.
About the Artwork
Photo courtesy of the author: Location of British frontline trench in late August 1917 (British Trench Map sheet 28 NW 4 Ypres I.5.d.9.1).