In the Pink
by Siegfried Sassoon
[from The Old Huntsman and Other Poems, 1918]


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. 
  


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