Malcolm Cowley


We Had Great Argument - Poem by Malcolm Cowley

After a tardy sun had set
We four untried lieutenants chose
The back room of the town buvette
And there, until the next sun rose,
We each discussed, in meaty prose
The meaning of the firmament
And all such things that no one knows.
That night we had great argument.

It was no trouble to forget
Dress and society and pose ;
The girls we knew ; Marthe and Odette
Marie and Madelon and Rose;
We did not give a thought to those;
Or other things ; War, or the Rent ;
Our lives ; the price of furbelows.
That night we had great argument.

A crimson sun came like a threat
We drained our glasses and arose
Roused the good folk and paid our debt
And rode off northward toward our foes.
Our feckless youth was at a close
And hell grew nearer as we went
Yet life seemed good to us - - because
That night we had great argument.

A German trench on the Aillette
Next day cost half our regiment,
And all my jolly friends - and yet
That night we had great argument.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 26, 2014



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