The poem Killed Paive – July 8,1918 is about Hemingway’s terrible war experience: he was wounded by a mortar shell that day. He was actually the first American wounded on the Italian front, a few weeks before his 19th birthday.
Killed Paive – July 8,1918
All the sweet pulsing aches
And gentle hurtings
That were you,
Are gone into the sullen dark.
Now in the night you come unsmiling
To lie with me
A dull, cold, rigid bayonet
On my hot-swollen, throbbing soul.
“I go to the front tomorrow, ” the 18-year-old Hemingway wrote home on a postcard from Milan, dated June 9,1918. Wounded seriously in a mortar explosion one month later, he was treated at the American Red Cross Hospital in Milan. (“P.S. Don’t worry, Pop, ” ends one hospital-bed letter home) .
These are among the experiences that helped shape his World War I novel, 'A Farewell to Arms'.
Soldiers never do die well; Crosses mark the places - Wooden crosses where they fell, Stuck above their faces. Soldiers pitch and cough and twitch - All the world roars red and black; Soldiers smother in a ditch, Choking through the whole attack.