War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

rummaging in the archives

doing research this morning and I came across this poem from May 1916. plus ça change etc. etc. the army being the last bastion of unapologetic consumption of tobacco products of every kind – cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, and that old standby and fav. of the infanteer stuck on night watch or just plain exhausted, chew (lipper)

I remember sitting on a watch in a Coyote with a young Cpl. who chain-smoked AND who also had a wad of chew under his bottom lip. I told him that he should get a nicotine patch which would amp it up even higher. oh ya, and he was swigging Red Bull.

and while it’s good to read the following ditty, I’d like to hear the original with its soldier language because you can bet your pound sterling that what you read is not what was recited amongst the boys in the trenches.


Tobacco is a rotten weed – I like it.
It satisfies no normal need – I like it.
It makes you sweat, it makes you lean,
It rots the hair right off your bean,
It’s the ruddiest stuff I’ve ever seen I like it!

Anonymous, May 1916
Cinque Ports Gazette – An active services magazine for all ranks of the 5th Royal Sussex Regiment, Number 1

in the collection of Cambridge University

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled rummaging in the archives. It was posted here on October 24, 2011.


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