Pvt. George T. Matchett, 1914
Horseman, Passed By
Before the war, my English grandfather went
to Canada and became a cowboy on the prairie;
as war loomed, he returned home, enlisted
in the Yeomanry, ready to cry out "Hussar!"
as he waved his sabre, riding over the Huns
in their Pickelhaubes. I see him fresh and
bright-eyed with the cavalryman's leather
halter, neat pockets packed with brass bullets.
But it was, after all, the new, twentieth century,
horsepower on the way out. The high command
reconsidered, horses being shredded just as men,
and they issued the cavalry boys bicycles instead.
Later, Grandad ferried supplies to the Macedonian
front. I never got clear: did he ride a bike then?
Christopher T. George