My Life in the 19th Century Part One)

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My Life in the 19th Century Part One)

Post by dedalus » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:55 am

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with their out-of-date cannons and ancient rifles: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

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Re: My Life in the 19th Century Part One)

Post by dafra » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:58 am

Really interesting story. Hurry along with part two.

Thanks d

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Re: My Life in the 19th Century Part One)

Post by thoke » Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:15 pm

I agree, interesting and well-written. It works well as poetry and perhaps would not as prose.

Typo in line 3. Can't think of much else to say...


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Re: My Life in the 19th Century Part One)

Post by David » Thu Dec 18, 2014 6:12 pm

Yes, I seem to have missed this at the time, and it would be good to see what happens next.

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