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(25 July 1956)

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Who Would Have Thought?

The men were sick of salted beef. They gagged.
Perhaps they dreamt of ale and British haddock.
The flour was spoilt by rain. The soldiers flagged.
Their stomachs must have ached for want of bannock.

In woods the French force took them by surprise
and Native American war whoops ramped the havoc
which overtook, in seventeen fifty-five
the redcoats led by General Edward Braddock.

The British force careened in disarray
as Native Americans flanked them on the hummocks
but young George Washington’s rear guard saved the day
though several horses died beneath his buttocks.

By reputation, General Ed was brash;
nine parts stalwart hero, one part pillock.
When he was shot they used his red silk sash
to bear him from the battle to a hillock.

Perhaps his final word was ‘balderdash’.
George might have sat beside him on a hassock
and maybe Edward said, “George take my sash,
it’s pretty Sprang and makes a decent hammock.”

But when he died, they buried him in the road
and possibly they might have used a mattock.
To keep it safe they hid his last abode.
He slumbers near Great Meadows. That’s a paddock.

Submitted: Friday, November 15, 2013
Edited: Friday, November 15, 2013


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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Sprang is a stretchy fabric made entirely from warp threads.

According to Wikipedia, Braddock’s last words were ‘Who would have thought? ’
but another source had ‘We shall know how to fight them next time’.

Old military adage: ‘A commander can be forgiven for being defeated but never for being surprised.’

Comments about this poem ('A Villanelle' by Thaumoctopus Mimicus by Diane Hine )

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  • Perry Biggerstaff (1/14/2014 8:16:00 PM)

    As a fellow history buff, I truly enjoyed this. Anytime one can finish reading a poem with a smile...the poet has obviously and successfully created something special. Thanks Diane.

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  • Unwritten Soul (11/29/2013 11:20:00 PM)

    Agreed with the rest, Diane writing always laced with linguistic ink and knowledge deep! _Soul

  • Valerie Dohren (11/27/2013 10:34:00 AM)

    Your knowledge always amazes me Diane - fascinating read.

  • Lyn Paul (11/16/2013 8:41:00 AM)

    Thank You Diane your research, your knowledge along with your your humour is incredible. You have something different and very special from us all

  • Valsa George (11/16/2013 7:02:00 AM)

    Diana, I stumble on the rocks of your' huddock, bannock and hummock' and miserably flop on my buttocks!
    Oh, what havoc! ! Enjoyed your play of words! !

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/16/2013 3:51:00 AM)

    Oh, Generals need better burials
    One of green and granite stocks
    That people may come to salute
    For whatever they stood for....

    Great poem - loved it

  • Douglas Scotney (11/15/2013 6:52:00 PM)

    I thought as you buried him in that road
    everywhere else must have been rock,
    and contemplating your titular goad,
    I have thought, 'Great use of -ock! '

  • Dinesh Nair (11/15/2013 8:50:00 AM)

    A tracing of human acts attired in the images of situations and sensitivity of things. A lovely narrative with a fresh touch again. I am giving a 10 for your write.

  • Aftab Alam Khursheed (11/15/2013 3:58:00 AM)

    Historical poem making interested read to all lovely Diane 10

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