Poem Hunter
A Dead Boche
(1895 - 1985 / London / England)

A Dead Boche

Poem By Robert Graves

To you who'd read my songs of War
And only hear of blood and fame,
I'll say (you've heard it said before)
"War's Hell! " and if you doubt the same,
Today I found in Mametz Wood
A certain cure for lust of blood:

Where, propped against a shattered trunk,
In a great mess of things unclean,
Sat a dead Boche; he scowled and stunk
With clothes and face a sodden green,
Big-bellied, spectacled, crop-haired,
Dribbling black blood from nose and beard.

User Rating: 2,7 / 5 ( 106 votes ) 10

Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Comments (10)

Studied WWI poetry at school, Owen, Sassoon & Rosenberg in particular but this is the first time I've encountered this poem. It is realistic, full of physical detail, rendering the dead German soldiers as less anonymous. 'Big bellied'. That phrase brings to mind a similar detail by Keith Douglas in his poem 'Steffi, Vergissmeinnicht' written about a dead German soldier in the Africa campaign of WW2, 'the burst stomach like a cave'. Here, the dead German is both soldier & lover.
This is an incredible book. Thank you so much! I have honestly never had this much fun cooking apple pie! The recipes are all delicious (especially the pie!) Would recommend adding a dust of cinnamon to the pie, if you're looking for a denser flavour.
A pitiful sight to see a dead German soldier in such a grotesque state. Graves had seen it all in war time. A fine soldier himself.
Mother truckin' horror. War is real people killing real people. Look into the face of your dead, decaying, bloating enemy. That could just as well be you. This poem pulls the veil back. The moral victory is for those who don't fight and kill.
Songs of war! ! Destroying the earth. Thanks for sharing.