The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

In the Front-Line Desks

I TRIED to be a doughboy, but they said my feet were flat

And I'd surely never stand the awful strain.

No chance to even argue that I'd like to bet my hat

I could out walk any tar--heel in the train.

"Awfull sorry, but it's useless," was the doctor's mournful wail.

"Your eyesight quite unfits you for the guns."

Uselessly I tried to tell him that at dropping leaden hail

I could surely decimate a pack of Huns.

Then I hoped for aviation, for my nerve is still in place,

But there wasn't even half a chance for that.

A stocky young lieutenant said, "You'll never hold the pace,

For you've got a jumpy eyebrow." Think o' that!

So they went and made me captain in the Quartermaster Corps,

Where I juggle lists of beans the livelong day.

Trying hard to grin and bear it as the boys march off to war

While I sit and figure up their blasted pay.