Genocidal general

Lord Jeffrey Amherst, by Joshua Reynolds

Lord Jeffrey Amherst, by Joshua Reynolds

….”Neither General Jeffrey Amherst

nor Colonel Henry Bouquet
could stomach our willow-tobacco.

As for the unusual
scent when the Colonel shook out his hand-

kerchief: C’est la lavande,
une fleur mauve comme le ciel.

They gave us six fishhooks
and two blankets embroidered with smallpox.’’

— From “Meeting the British,’’ by Paul Muldoon. The poem is about Gen. (and later Lord) Jeffrey Amherst’s biological warfare against some Native Americans during the French and Indian Wars. Amherst, Mass., is named after him, though some propose changing the name.