The Man He Killed

Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because--
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like--just as I--
Was out of work--had sold his traps--
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown.

by Thomas Hardy

Comments (11)

This poem carries the weight of truth from the weight of war. Something many can identify with. I like how he breaks his phrases with dashes, as if trying to explain/justify killing someone he might have enjoyed. War is what justifies it, but it's another matter to condone it.
rule of the west......
as if he's more or less than a man when he goes to war
The tragedy and futility of war, having to shoot at (and in this case kill) someone who could otherwise have been a friend. Heartbreaking.
I see two halves of the same man firing shots at each other..and the futility of it all.
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