Hemingway Poem: Killed Paive

The following poem is about Hemingway’s experience of being wounded (by a mortar shell) during the war.  He was actually the first American wounded on the Italian front, a few weeks before his 19th birthday.

Killed Paive – July 8, 1918            

Desire and
All the sweet pulsing aches
And gentle hurtings
That were you,
Are gone into the sullen dark.
Now in the night you come unsmiling
To lie with me
A dull, cold, rigid bayonet
On my hot-swollen, throbbing soul.

 “I go to the front tomorrow, ” the 18-year-old Hemingway wrote home on a postcard from Milan, dated June 9, 1918. Wounded seriously in a mortar explosion one month later, he was treated at the American Red Cross Hospital in Milan. (“P.S. Don’t worry, Pop,” ends one hospital-bed letter home.) These are among the experiences that helped shape his World War I novel, A Farewell to Arms. (source: Penn State archives).

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