The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

The Anxious Anthemist

Written when the Allied armies were chasing the Germans across the fields of France and Flanders, in the summer of 1918.

I SIT down to write a poem of our fighting men's renown,

And I scarce get fairly started when they take another town.

A British commentator's praise I versify, and then

A Frenchman up and multiplies the happy words by ten.

The cable service headlines say the Yankees swat the Hun,

But ere I get a jingle framed they've got more on the run.

I'd like to be their Boswell in a khaki--lauding gem,

But darn those doughboys' peppy hides--I can't keep up with them!

It tickles me quite some to hear of how they're spreading Teuts

Around the landscape, and I'll say their ways and means are beauts;

The Fritzian din of "Kamerad" is drowning out the shells

As U. S. shockers shock the shockers with their own pet hells.

I want the good work to go on, but I have one request

To make of them before they lay the kaiser out to rest,

And that is this: Don't stop your war; continue till you've won,

But kindly take a lay-off till I get this anthem done!

Notes

Written when the Allied armies were chasing the Germans across the fields of France and Flanders, in the summer of 1918.