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Soldier poets of the Great War (I): Eating breakfast under the flying German shells

I spent a lot of time recently reading poems from World War I, much of it new to me. Rather than discuss them all at once, I am going to feature one poem or even one line a day.  Here is W.W. Gibson’s "Breakfast": We ate our breakfast lying on our backs, Because the shells ...

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Wikimedia

I spent a lot of time recently reading poems from World War I, much of it new to me. Rather than discuss them all at once, I am going to feature one poem or even one line a day. 

Here is W.W. Gibson’s "Breakfast":

We ate our breakfast lying on our backs,

Because the shells were screeching overhead.

I bet a rasher to a loaf of bread

That Hull United would beat Halifax

When Jimmy Stainthorp played full-back instead

Of Billy Bradford. Ginger raised his head

And cursed, and took the bet; and dropt back dead.

We ate our breakfast lying on our backs,

Because the shells were screeching overhead.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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