Sergeant-Major Money

By Robert Graves 1895–1985 Robert Graves
It wasn't our battalion, but we lay alongside it,
  So the story is as true as the telling is frank.
They hadn't one Line-officer left, after Arras,
  Except a batty major and the Colonel, who drank.
'B' Company Commander was fresh from the Depot,
  An expert on gas drill, otherwise a dud;
So Sergeant-Major Money carried on, as instructed,
  And that's where the swaddies began to sweat blood.
His Old Army humour was so well-spiced and hearty
  That one poor sod shot himself, and one lost his wits;
But discipline's maintained, and back in rest-billets
  The Colonel congratulates 'B' Company on their kits.
The subalterns went easy, as was only natural
  With a terror like Money driving the machine,
Till finally two Welshmen, butties from the Rhondda,
  Bayoneted their bugbear in a field-canteen.
Well, we couldn't blame the officers, they relied on Money;
  We couldn't blame the pitboys, their courage was grand;
Or, least of all, blame Money, an old stiff surviving
  In a New (bloody) Army he couldn't understand.

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Poet Robert Graves 1895–1985


Subjects Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Money & Economics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Ballad, Rhymed Stanza

 Robert  Graves


Robert Graves often stirred controversy in his endeavors as a poet, novelist, critic, mythographer, translator, and editor. Stephen Spender in the New York Times Book Review characterized Graves as a free thinker: "All of his life Graves has been indifferent to fashion, and the great and deserved reputation he has is based on his individuality as a poet who is both intensely idiosyncratic and unlike any other contemporary poet . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Money & Economics, War & Conflict


Poetic Terms Ballad, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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