Snug at the club two fathers sat,
Gross, goggle-eyed, and full of chat.
One of them said: ‘My eldest lad
Writes cheery letters from Bagdad.
But Arthur’s getting all the fun
At Arras with his nine-inch gun.’
‘Yes,’ wheezed the other, ‘that’s the luck!
My boy’s quite broken-hearted, stuck
In England training all this year.
Still, if there’s truth in what we hear,
The Huns intend to ask for more
Before they bolt across the Rhine.’
I watched them toddle through the door–
These impotent old friends of mine.
–Siegfried Sassoon, Counter-Attack and Other Poems, 1918