Jump to content
Poetry Magnum Opus

My Life in the 19th Century (Part One)


Recommended Posts

I’ll put the chicken down, I said,

and I did while she looked at me with mournful eyes.

She wsn’t angry or anything, just kind of sad,

and she said, Son, you shouldn’t be stealing.

I blushed bright red, nearly kicked

the goddam chicken away,

and I thought, but I’m so so hungry!

Green apples and green corn was all

for the last five days, me and the army

marching through Virginia, on the attack,

ready and willing to end the war.

You going to die, Little Boy, said my Daddy,

goddam fools going to tear you away from me,

before I even know you.

I was seventeen and thought I was a big boy.

I had no idea. Five years later the war was over

and I was totally unsettled but still alive,

and so I went home but my Daddy was dead

and my Mammy had married a local farmer

who had plans for me, but I slapped his face

and kissed my little sisters and said good-bye.

I went to New York, which is where you go

when you have no better idea. I robbed

a few dozen drunks, gently, avoiding violence,

and then from a pleasant hotel, went out to find

some reasonable form of work, and in this way

became a pushy young reporter

on the Daily Times Herald Tribune.

The editor asked if I spoke German,

and so I lied and they sent me over to Europe

to cover the Austro-Prussian War,

providentially from the Prussian side,

and not only because the Prussians won,

but because in this way I could make the acquaintance

of Colonel Count von Schellenburg.

I wanted to interview Bismarck,

but he refused to talk to foreigners,

he refused to talk to his own people,

a regular One-Man-Show.

I stayed on to cover Napoleon III,

various and sundry nasty scandals,

and the dramatic Franco-Prussian War.

The fast-firing Prussians destroyed the French

with their out-of-date cannons and ancient rifles:

the French never knew what hit them,

all red pantaloons, Napoleonic columns,

a mess of hopeless supply lines, but I met Gerd again,

my old friend Count von Schellenburg,

and a British observer called Herbert Kitchener.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
I went to New York, which is where you go

when you have no better idea.


Oh, wow. Actually, that whole stanza was a wow. The very end left me a bit wanting, as if maybe this piece is not finished. Still, I liked this poem. Quite unique, actually.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.