Who Would Have Thought? - Poem by Diane Hine
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.
Poet's Notes about The Poem
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.’
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