The People We’ll Kill

Since it appears that the United States is about to go to war, again, we think it appropriate to read a poem by Thomas Hardy entitled “The Man He Killed”.

Had he and I but met

By some old ancient inn,

We should have sat 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.


“to wet” To drink

“nipperkin” A small glass or cup generally about a half-pint

“he’d ‘list”  He’d enlist

“sold his traps” Sold his working tools

“quaint” Strange

“half-a-crown” British coin equal to 2 1/2 shillings



The War on the Afghans is still going on as are smaller wars in Yemen and Colombia. The War in Iraq is going on but now at least without Americans as targets. The War in Libya has wound down but Americans are still targets. So the great Peacemaker threatens a new war in Syria. He does so, he says, to show others that they should not engage in war and that if they do, we Americans will chasten  them by dropping rockets on their heads.


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