Siegfried Sassoon: In the Pink


SO Davies wrote: ‘This leaves me in the pink’. 
Then scrawled his name: ‘Your loving sweetheart, Willie’. 
With crosses for a hug. He’d had a drink 
Of rum and tea; and, though the barn was chilly, 
For once his blood ran warm; he had pay to spend. 
Winter was passing; soon the year would mend. 

But he couldn’t sleep that night; stiff in the dark 
He groaned and thought of Sundays at the farm, 
And how he’d go as cheerful as a lark 
In his best suit, to wander arm in arm 
With brown-eyed Gwen, and whisper in her ear 
The simple, silly things she liked to hear. 

And then he thought: to-morrow night we trudge 
Up to the trenches, and my boots are rotten. 
Five miles of stodgy clay and freezing sludge, 
And everything but wretchedness forgotten. 
To-night he’s in the pink; but soon he’ll die. 
And still the war goes on—he don’t know why.





William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure: A Retelling in Prose, by David Bruce

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