[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Sister Susie's sittin' knittin'
Sweaters, wristlets, scarfs, an' socks;
She ain't "sewin' shirts for soldiers"
'Cause she got so many knocks
From th' papers 'bout her sewin'—
Now she's knittin' pounds of yarn
Into things to send away.... Well,
I don't care,
Don't care a darn!

Hasn't knit no scarf or sweater,
Hasn't made no socks for me;
Little brother, he can rustle
For himself alone, you see!
Maw is on the Help Committee,
Paw is drillin' with th' Guard;
Brother's soldierin'—and sister's
Knittin' fast
An' awful hard!

No, they won't pay me no 'tention,
So I'm goin' to run away,
Join th' army as a—as a
Bellboy, may be, without pay.
Then I'll get a scarf an' sweater
And some socks, soon as I go,
From some other feller's sister
That I do not
Even know.

by Everard Jack Appleton
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Back of the Front in this durn trainin' camp,
Day after day we are stuck, an' we swear
Whenever we hear th' regular tramp
Of th' men who are through and are goin' somewhere.
We're all of us willin', but why keep us drillin'
Forever?... Just waitin' for somethin' to do!

At home they are readin' th' outlandish name
Of a battle that's won or a hero that's dead
Of a stunt that had won him a place in this Game—
But all that I've won is a cold in my head!
While others are fightin' we're readin' or writin'—
An' the censors will see that it don't get to you!

We long for a scrap that will sizzle the blood;
We hone for a chance to bust in a head;
This marchin' an' diggin' in acres of mud
Ain't as excitin' as bein' plain dead.
War may be a curse, but this here is worse—
This dreamin' th' dreams that never come true.

All set for a mix-up that we can't begin;
Ready and anxious for whatever comes,
We're linked to the side-lines.... Ain't it a sin,
Spendin' good hours a-twiddlin' thumbs?
Seems like a crime to waste so much time
A-waitin'—an' waitin'! You'd find it so, too.

My bunkie is peevish, and I'm out of tune;
The Capting's a grouch whenever we hike;
If we don't get into this muss pretty soon,
We fellers are likely to go on a strike!
We signed for a scrap, not a tea or a nap,
Or to wait,
And to wait,
And to wait—
Till it's through!

by Everard Jack Appleton
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
We're All Right Here

What's th' meanin' of the look you see in soldiers' eyes?
Some of them you thought would kick an' stall around an' howl;
But just listen (if they'll talk) an' hear, to your surprise,
A lot of laughs, a lot o' tales—but never once a growl!

Business man and bell hop,
Farmer boy and clerk;
Easy-going spendthrifts,
Men that have to work;
Firemen and brokers,
Chauffeurs still "in gear";
The army is the melting pot—
We're all right here!

Desk men and road men,
Men who sweep the street;
Coal men and plumbers
(If they have good feet);
Showmen and film stars,
All have mislaid fear.
Funny crowd; but we should fret—
We're all right here!

Keen men and dull men,
Razor-edged or dumb,
High-grade and low-grade,
Some, plain medium;
Feet upon the drill-ground,
Hearts all beating high;
You are glad that you are here,
And so, old top, am I!

That's the meaning of the call; ev'ry man is proud
He is in the common cause, with a bunch of men
Fighting for democracy, lined up with this crowd—
God! It's pretty nifty just to be a man again!

by Everard Jack Appleton
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Old National Guard

You pull a lot of funny stuff about us, when there's peace,
The jokes you spring are sometimes rough, and make a guy see red;
But when there's trouble in the air you "vaudevillians" cease,
And them that laughed the loudest laugh, salute the flag instead!

Oh, it's kid the boys along
When there's nothing going wrong;
But when your country's facin' war,
You sing a different song!

The khaki that they doll us in ain't seen war service—no!
The most of it has been worn thin a-loafin' 'round the mess;
Folks think it's great to josh us when things are goin' slow,
But when the country's all het up—we ain't so worse, I guess!

Then it's, "Look! The Guard is here;
Fine set of men, muh dear."...
(We'd like it better if you spread
Your jollies through th' year!)

We're only folks—th' reg'lar kind—that answered to th' call;
We may be dumb and also blind—but still we'll see it through!
Just wearin' khaki doesn't change our insides—not a'tall!
We're human (Does that seem so strange?) waitin' to fight—for you!

We mayn't be worth a cuss
In this ugly foreign muss,
But when the nation needs some help,
Why—pass the job to us!

by Everard Jack Appleton
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The 'Skeeter Fleet

Mighty little doin'—yet a lot to do—
While the navy's standin' guard, we are lookin' out;
Patrol boats in shoals, good old craft and new
Hustle here and skitter there—what's it all about?

Speed boats and slow boats
Loaf around or run,
But ev'ry unit of this fleet
Mounts a wicked gun!

Pleasure craft a-plenty, all dolled up in gray
Grim and ugly war-paint dress, we're a gloomy lot,
Slidin' in and out, never in the way.
Gosh! It's wearin' on the nerves, waitin' round—for what?

Some boats are bum boats,
Layin' for the Hun—
But ev'ry boat that flies our Flag
Mounts a wicked gun!

Stickin' for the Big Show! Will it ever start?
When it does, Good night, Irene! We won't make a squeak.
"Boy Scouts of the Sea," watch us do our part
If a raider or a sub. gives us just a peek!

Tin boats and wood boats—
Ev'ry single one
Longs to get in action with
Its wicked little gun!

by Everard Jack Appleton
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Ladies' Man

Billy is a ladies' man; Billy dances fine
(Always was a bear-cat at the game);
Billy pulls the social stuff all along the line—
But he knows this business, just the same.

He can march; he can drill
As hard as any rook;
And he knows his manual
Without his little book.

Maybe he was soft at first—ev'rybody's that;
Golfing was his hardest labor then;
Now he's in the Service (where you don't grow fat),
Digging, drilling, like us other men.

He can eat, he can sleep
Like any healthy brute—
And the Captain says that Billy-boy
Is learning how to shoot!

When he joined the Training Camp, Billy says, "No doubt,
I will draw some clerical position;"
But he's shown he can command; so—the news is out—
He will get a regular commission!

He can talk; he can dance
(He is still the ladies' pet)
But the way he barks his orders out
Gets action, you c'n bet!

by Everard Jack Appleton
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
Soldiers of the Soil

It's a high-falutin' title they have handed us;
It's very complimentary an' grand;
But a year or so ago they called us "hicks," you know—
An' joshed the farmer and his hired hand!

Now it's, "Save the country, Farmer!
Be a soldier of the soil!
Show your patriotism, pardner,
By your never-ending toil."
So we're croppin' more than ever,
An' we're speedin' up the farm;
Oh, it's great to be a soldier—
A sweatin', sun-burnt soldier,—
A soldier in the furrows—
Away from "war's alarm!"

While fightin' blight and blister,
We hardly get a chance
To read about our "comrades"
A-doin' things in France.
To raise the grub to feed 'em
Is some job, believe me—plus!
And I ain't so sure a soldier—
A shootin', scrappin' soldier,
That's livin' close to dyin'—
Ain't got the best of us!

But we'll harrer and we'll harvest,
An' we'll meet this new demand
Like the farmers always meet it—
The farmers—and the land.
An' we hope, when it is over
An' this war has gone to seed,
You will know us soldiers better—
Th' sweatin', reapin' soldiers,
Th' soldiers that have hustled
To raise th' grub you need!

It's a mighty fancy title you have given us,
A name that sounds too fine to really stick;
But maybe you'll forget (when you figure out your debt)
To call th' man who works a farm a "hick."

by Everard Jack Appleton
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
Cookie Jim

The capting says, says he to us:
"Your duty is to do your best;
We can't ALL lead in this here muss,
So mind your job! That is the test
O' soldierin',
O' soldierin'—
To mind your job, while soldierin'!"

When Jimmy joined the colors first, he knowed that soon he'd be
A non-com. officer,—oh, sure, he had that idee firm;
But Jimmy got another think, fer quite eventually
They had him workin' like a Turk, th' pore, astonished worm.

The rest of us, we gotta eat, and Jimmy—he can cook!
(He makes a stew that tastes as good as mother used to make.)
An' when he starts to flappin' cakes, why, every hungry rook
Is droolin' at the mouth for them, a-waitin' fer his take.

He's ranked a sergeant, but he don't mix up with no recruits;
He rides a horse when we parade (which ain't so often now);
But where he shines is when we eat; the grub that Jimmy shoots
At hungry troopers every day is certainly "some chow."

He's jest a "dough-boy," of a sort; it's Jimmy's job to cook;
Don't hafter drill, don't hafter tote a lot of arms with him;
Jest messes up th' stuff we eat, and we don't hafter look—
It's always clean! So here's a good luck and health to Cookie Jim!

The capting says, says he: "You rooks
Have gotta lot to learn, I'll say,
'Cept Jimmy; he's the best o' cooks
Troop Z has had fer many a day
While soldierin',
While soldierin'—
He does his work, while soldierin'!"

by Everard Jack Appleton


War Poetry

January 2017

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