|U.S. Army Maj. George S. Patton during World War I|
Offered below is an additional anecdote regarding Gen. George S. Patton's poetic life.
According to biographer Carlo D'Este ("Patton: A Genius for War", 1996) Patton was a dedicated practitioner of poetry, starting in his first years at Virginia Military Institute and West Point […]
One final war story: As a practical matter, Patton thought the memorization of poetry to be a brain exercise, and paid his daughters Beatrice and Ruth Ellen to memorize a poem per week. Ruth Ellen even once memorized one of Patton's own poems on reincarnation, and recited it at school. The poem "Mercenary's Song (A.D. 1600)" reads, in part:
In wantonness of appetite,When the scandalized school teacher and headmaster sent his daughter home with a note, Beatrice observed to Patton that other parents were not quite so permissive as he.
In women, wine and war,
In fire and blood and rapine
In these my pleasures are. […]
Then here's to blood and blasphemy!
And here's to whores and drink!
In life you know you're living
In death we only stink.
Patton, writes biographer D'Este, thought it was hilarious.
Read "What Patton's Poems Tell Us about Today."