Riparto d'Assalto

Original Text: 
Ernest Hemingway, Three Stories & Ten Poems (Dijon: Maurice Darantiere, 1923): 55. Facsimile edition by Contact Publishing, 1977. PS 3515 E37A15 Robarts Library.
2Hob-nailed boots on the camion floor.
3Sergeants stiff,
4Corporals sore.
6Warm and soft and sleepy whore,
7Cozy, warm and lovely whore;
8Damned cold, bitter, rotten ride,
11Pride of their country stiff and cold,
12Bristly faces, dirty hides --
13Infantry marches, Arditi rides.
14Grey, cold, bitter, sullen ride --
15To splintered pines on the Grappa side

Notes

1] The Italian title refers to a battalion-sized military unit. I would like to thank Angelo L. Pirocchi for help in this note, and in others at lines 5 and 16.
camion: truck. Back to Line
5] Mestre: a harbour near Venice. Back to Line
9] Grappa: Monte Grappa, near Bassano, its summit at 5,824 feet. This was "one of the main centres of Italian resistance during the Austrian offensive (1917-18). There is a large *cemetery with the remains of 25,000 soldiers from both the Italian and the Austrian armies" (Italy [Paris: Hachette, 1965]: 170). As Hemingway says, the road up to the summit "climbs up through a series of bends". Back to Line
10] Arditi: Italian storm troops. Back to Line
16] Asalone: a mount near Monte Grappa, and a theatre of bloody battles in 1917-18. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1923
Publication Notes: 
Poetry 21.iv (January 1923): 193-95.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1999.