ON LEARNING FRENCH

YANKS – Copyright 1918 – FOREWORD

“The verses that make up this little book have all been published in THE STARS AND STRIPES, the official newspaper of the American Expeditionary Forces. They have come in from the field, the back areas, the ports; they have been written on the eve of battle; the men who wrote some of them have paid the great price. They are the heart and soul of the American Army in France. It is their only claim to distinction. It is enough.”

Throughout the remainder of November, we will be posting excerpts from this amazing little 100-year-old book that is literally falling to pieces. It is time to share it, rather than just have it sitting on a shelf in a plastic bag. We will eventually make a slide show gallery of photos of all of the pages in the book.

ON LEARNING FRENCH

Like silver bells heard in a mist,
Or moonstone echoes from some brook
Where silver birches wall a nook,
Or like sea ripples moon-lit kissed,

Or like a lake of silver ledges
Where iris water-lilies lave,
Or like some lark’s translucent wave
Of song above white hawthorn hedges,

The maiden ripples French to me;
But I am like an argonaut
In some mute agony of thought,
Lost in sound’s sweet tranquility.

ALFRED J. FRITCHEY, Camp Hospital 30

1918 military poetry
On Learning French
Alfred J. Fritchey, Camp Hospital 30