Base Details

I don’t know if World War I is the first war from which we have anti-war poetry, but it’s always seemed that way to me. Here’s a short, sharp one by the English poet Siegfriend Sassoon. It trades in two meanings of the word base.

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
  I’d live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
  You’d see me with my puffy petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
  Reading the Roll of Honour. ‘Poor young chap,’
I’d say—‘I used to know his father well;
  Yes, we’ve lost heavily in this last scrap.’
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
  I’d toddle safely home and die—in bed.

– Siegfried Sassoon, 1918

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