The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

Passing the Buck

THE Colonel has a job to do

That's really hard, and puzzling, too;

He can't quite figure what it needs,

So hands it out to Major Heeds.

And Major Heeds he thinks it o'er,

And thinks it o'er and o'er some more,

And he can't make it out at all,

So Captain Jones, he takes a fall.

The Captain shoves his helmet back,

And puts his brains all on the rack;

But "D--n" is all that can be said,

And then it's up to First Loot Head.

O' course, he "knows," but hasn't time--

The work they shove on him's a crime;

This, and then lots more to boot,

So on it goes to the Second Loot.

Now Lieutenant Young is just a kid,

A baby mouth by an eyebrow hid;

A job like that would knock him cold,

He hands it down to Top-soak Gold.

The Top-soak, 'course, is swamped with work;

It never was his plan to shirk,

But Sergeant Reed, he's just the man,

He'll sure do it if any can.

But that old sarge must sleep a lot:

This biz of overworkin's rot;

He gives the Corp'rul loads of gas,

And so that duffer takes a pass.

But Corp'ruls don't know what to do,

They're only built for bossing, too;

So Corp'rul Jenks, he says he's stuck,

And hands it on to a common buck.

And when the job is finished right,

And all the things are clear as light,

Why, then, it's found by all the Fates,

The job was done by Private Bates.

An' it's passin' the buck,

An' a-passin' the buck,

An' a-passin' the buck along,

An' on with the buck

With the best o' luck,

An' I hope you come out wrong.