The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

Mike Dillon, Doughboy

From Lieutenant Roche's hook of poems, 'times in Olive Drab," Robert M. McBride & Company, Publishers, New York. Copyright, 1515. Special permission to insert in this book.

"Doughboy" is an old nickname for a United States infantryman. When our army went into what is now New Mexico, Arizona and California to quiet the Mexicans hostilities that preceded the war of 1846, the infantry fell into a way of camping in houses built by the natives with sun--dried bricks of adobe mud. The cavalry, having to lie in the open with the horses, were joked thereat and came back by calling the infantry dobie boys. The name stuck and by an easy slide arrived at the present form.

MIKE DILLON was a doughboy

And wore the issue stuff;

He wasn't much to look at--

In fact, was rather rough;

He served his time as rookie

At drilling in the sun,

And cleared a lot of timber

And polished up his gun.

Mike Dillon was a private

With all the word entails;

He cussed and chewed tobacco

And overlooked his nails.

You never saw Mike Dillon

At dances ultra nice;

In fact, inspection found him

Enjoying body lice.

If Mike had married money

Or had a little drag,

He might have got a brevet

And missed a little "fag"

But as a social figure

He simply wasn't there--

So Mike continued drilling

And knifing up his fare.

In course of time they shipped 'em

And shipped 'em over where

A man like Mike can sidestep

The frigid social stare,

And do the job of soldier

Without the fancy frills,

And keep a steady footing

In the pace that really kills.

Now Mike did nothing special;

He only did his best:

He stuck and "went on over"--

And got it in the chest;

He played it fair and squarely

Without a social air,

And Mike is now in heaven

And at least a corporal there!

Notes

"Doughboy" is an old nickname for a United States infantryman. When our army went into what is now New Mexico, Arizona and California to quiet the Mexicans hostilities that preceded the war of 1846, the infantry fell into a way of camping in houses built by the natives with sun--dried bricks of adobe mud. The cavalry, having to lie in the open with the horses, were joked thereat and came back by calling the infantry dobie boys. The name stuck and by an easy slide arrived at the present form.