For Country and King



Labeled Postcard from Miss Nördingen to her fiancé John Ostermeier and returns. He served in the first Army Corps, 1st Division, Second Infantry Regiment. Wikipedia


He wanted to fight for country and king,

To serve and have an adventure.

When life in the trenches was hard, he’d sing,

He wanted to fight for country and king.

But he’ll no longer see the wild woods in spring,

No longer will talk of legends or ventures,

He wanted to fight for country and king

To serve and have an adventure.


This is in response to Secret Keeper’s Weekly Prompt. This week’s challenge was to use these words: woods/legend/wild/hard/serve. I wrote a triolet.


© Merril D. Smith, 2016





15 thoughts on “For Country and King

  1. Wonderful pulling together of the prompt words and the postcard (you know I love the history bits). This line struck me: “When life in the trenches was hard, he’d sing,” and such a smart fit with the form, especially the ironic effect of the first two lines being echoed at the end.

    • Thank you, Jennifer. I was really trying to make my image of the poor young man and the times AND the words work with this form. The postcard was a lucky find afterward. 🙂

  2. Yes, good rhythm thanks Merril … sad about the reality of it all though. I agree with earlier comments about it sounding like a ballad which invariably have sadness in them.

  3. The National World War I museum is in Kansas City, and I visited it for the first time last month. They do an excellent job of conveying the impact of the politics and circumstances on those who fought and suffered. Those were hard times. I like how your poem hints at the reality encountered by those led to believe in the majesty of their duty, only to be the fodder for global politics.

    • Thanks, Ken. I didn’t know about the museum. If I’m in Kansas City, I’ll have to visit it. WWI is said to be the first “modern” war, but it’s sad that we didn’t learn from it.

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