The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

The Little Home Paper

The little home paper comes to me,

As badly printed as it can be;

It's ungrammatical, cheap, absurd--

Yet, how I love each intimate word!

For here am I in the teeming town,

Where the sad, mad people rush up and down,

And it's good to get back to the old lost place,

And gossip and smile for a little space.

The weather is hot; the corn crop's good;

They've had a picnic in Sheldon's Wood.

And Aunt Maria was sick last week

Ike Morrison's got a swollen cheek,

And the Squire was hurt in a runaway--

More shocked than bruised, I'm glad they say.

Bert Wills--I used to play with him--

Is working a farm with his Uncle Jim.

The Red Cross ladies gave a tea,

And raised quite a bit. Old Sol MacPhee

Has sold his house on Lincoln Road--

He couldn't carry so big a load.

The methodist minister's had a call

From a wealthy parish near St. Paul.

And old Herb Sweet is married at last--

He was forty-two. How the years rush past!

But here's an item that makes me see

What a puzzling riddle life can be.

"Ed Stokes", it reads, "was killed in France

When the Allies made their last advance."

Ed Stokes! That boy with the laughing eyes

As blue as the early--summer skies!

He wouldn't have killed a fly--and yet,

Without a murmur, without a regret,

He left the peace of our little place,

And went away with a light in his face;

For out in the world was a job to do,

And he wouldn't come home until it was through!

Four thousand mires from our tiny town

And its hardware store, this boy went down.

Such a quiet lad, such a simple chap--

But he's put East Dunkirk on the map!