The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

John Doe--Buck Private

WHO was it, picked from civil life

And plunged in deadly, frenzied strife

Against a devil's dreadful might?

Just plain "John Doe-Buck Private."

Who jumped the counter for the trench,

And left fair shores for all the stench

And mud, and death, and bloody drench?

Your simple, plain "Buck Private."

Who, when his nerves were on the hop,

With courage scaled the bloody top?

Who was it made the Fritzies stop?

"J. Doe (no stripes), Buck Private."

Who, underneath his training tan

Is, every single inch, a man!

And, best of all, American?

"John Doe, just plain Buck Private."

Who saw his job and did it well?

Who smiles so bland--yet fights like hell?

Who rang again old Freedom's bell?

'Twas only "Doe--Buck Private."

Who was it lunged, and struck, and tore

His bayonet deep in flesh and gore?

Who was it helped to win the war?

"John Doe (no brains), Buck Private."

Who, heeding not the laurel pile

That scheming other men beguile,

Stands modestly aside the while?

"John Doe (God's kind), Buck Private."