World War I Triptych

World War I Triptych

Encaustic and paper on barn board

Excerpt from “Somewhere in France”

Shouts and sudden movements woke Harry in the middle of a dream about little Alice trying to put doll clothes on one of the chickens. He quickly rolled off the step, all thoughts of home gone. A deep whirring sound sent him and the card players scuttling toward the hole in the trench wall. An ear-splitting explosion was instantaneously followed with rock and earth falling on Harry’s back and clunking his helmet. Men yelled and pushed from behind while the smell and sting of chordite and burnt earth filled his nostrils. Harry stumbled through the hole and then fell hard on the dugout floor when someone landed on his back. The gas mask satchel dug into his side, piercing him. His hands and chin hurt. His face lay pressed against the loose rock and soil in the dugout, which caused his helmet to dig sharply into the back of his neck. He tried squirming further into the hole, but the soldier lying on his legs trapped him.

A high shriek of a shrapnel shell and the answering shrieks of earth and men caused a flurry of commotion. Harry belly-crawled forward and heard another whirring sound. The ground shook and shuddered. Pressed in from all sides by other men, he lay face down against the wall of the dugout, listening to the sound of his pounding heart.


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