The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

Just Thinking

STANDIN' up here ou the fire--step,

Lookin' ahead in the mist,

With a tin hat over your ivory

And a rifle clutched in your fist;

Waitin' and watchin' and wond'rin'

If the Hun's comin' over tonight--

Say, aren't the things you think of

Enough to give you a fright?

Things you ain't even thought of

For a couple a' months or more;

Things that 'ull set you laughin',

Things that 'till make you sore;

Things that von saw in the movies,

Things that you saw on the street,

Things that you're really proud of

Things that are--not so sweet;

Debts that are past collectin',

Stories you hear and forget,

Ball games and birthday parties,

Hours of drill in the wet;

Headlines, recruitin' posters,

Sunset 'way out at sea,

Evenings of pay-days--golly--

It's a queer thing, this memory!

Faces of pals in Homeburg,

Voices of womenfolk,

Verses you learnt in schooldays

Pop up in the mist and smoke.

As you stand there grippin' that rifle,

A-starin', and chilled to the bone,

Wonderin' and wonderin' and wonderin',

Just thinkin' there--all alone:

When will the war be over?

When will the gang break through?

What will the U. S. look like?

What will there be to do?

Where will the Boches be then?

Who will have married Nell?

When's the relief a-comm up'

Gosh! But this thinkin's hell