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The General -- Siegfried Sassoon

Guest poem submitted by Bill Whiteford:
(Poem #1789) The General
 "Good-morning, good-morning!" the General said
 When we met him last week on our way to the line.
 Now the men that he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
 And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
 "He's a cheery old card," grunted Harry to Jack
 As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.

 But he did for them both by his plan of attack.
-- Siegfried Sassoon
I'm suggesting this on November 11, Armistice Day here in Britain (and
presumably in many other countries). We're often taught the first world war
poets at school, and I remember being struck by the power of this short poem
then. I've never been very good at memorising long screeds of verse, but I
could usually remember the last three lines of this. Interestingly, I
thought there were two stanzas, of four and three lines. But I see most
sources render it as above.  Again , there's a lot you could do in the way
of analysis (the very strict rhythm of lines 1-6, the stutter-step in 7),
but I will leave that to others.

Bill Whiteford.

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We're often trained the first globe war romantics at university, and I keep in mind being hit by the energy of this brief poetry then. I've never been very excellent at memorising lengthy screeds of line,

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