Ernest Hemingway “A Very Short Story”

cut-up the story to make a poem, inspired by a viking statue out in the quad.
I wrote the word ‘VIKING’ across each paragraph. I traced the words where ‘VIKING’ struck through, writing the poem as I went. I gave myself two rules: allowed myself to mix words struck within three words of each other in the sequence, allowed to leave out two words stuck through per letter.

One, top, searchlights, hear.
In came them,
there, out below, were the others
on carried him, swifts down Luz
onto the sky and took on the bed…and awhile.

Bottles, she was with them.
He fresh, Luz. Him went during…
“Not all have duty.” For him, the anesthetic talky.
For the holding after, from they walked, table tight.
Were halls glad? Had so used he her?
Would take patients thought about temperatures,
and/or about anything
All knew his.

Before and time,
married wrote the front.
Without to other banns,
they the people, neither, everyone.

Letter sorted them, how terrible.
Praying of he by she was into,
wanted had know,
get and, and night.

“Duomo, get to the armistice.”
They, it prayed, but felt they 15 through.
To get dim, not though they could,
came to get quiet enough, were lose.
A bunch were after armistice.

Would they come home?
Was understood states
to about not station, saying goodbye.
They came home.
Would job willing, they kissed.
That he should had good drink and be married.
Come home, goodbye.

Home and not train, once were not.
Job come to from, they finished.
His friends to say, “quarrel.”
Might York? Milan?

Married, meet anyone, quarreled, goodbye.
He in the about, he lonely, muddy, rainy known affair.
Day in rainy America, she forgive.
On there town in, before, sorry, and she
from there winter and finally
she was grateful him, the Major wrote.
He would here
and but want of the States, probably expected.
She quartered.
Made theirs, had to be open town.
Luz, only understand unexpectedly.

Hospital living and to be,
and to be love.
The Major did Chicago.
He would marry.
About, while, have.
In short, a career.
After through and any he believed.
Other, contracted Lincoln.
Absolutely never from.
she got in answer.

I love how this poem played out. It feels like a lucid dream, clipping in and out of flashback, telling the story of a military man. It touches on topics of war, the woman he loves, his relationships with his battalion, and this turmoiled mix of emotion he is dealing with, both overall, looking back, and at intermittent times in the flashbacks.

In a way it reminds me of mixing ‘The Wall’ with ‘The Razor’s Edge’.


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