The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

The Clerk

Perched upon an office stool, neatly adding figures,

With cuffs gone shiny and a pen behind his ear;

Deep in Liabilities. Goods and Double Entry,

So he worked from year to year.

Diligent and careful, hedged about with figure,,

Given soul and body to discount and per cent;

Bounded by the columns of Purchase Book and Journal

Soberly his moments went.

Now his pen has ceased from adding rows of figures

Ceased from ruling ledgers and entering amounts:

Clad in sodden khaki, with a gun in Flanderc

He is balancing accounts