The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

A Chant of Army Cooks

WE never were made to be seen on parade

When sweethearts and such line the streets;

When the band starts to blare, look for us we ain't there--

We're mussing around with the eats.

It's fun to step out to the echoing shout

Of a crowd that forgets how you're fed,

While we're soiling our duds hacking eyes out of spuds--

You know what Napoleon said.

When the mess sergeant's gay, you can bet hell's to pay

For the boys who are standing in line;

When the boys get a square, then the sergeant is there

With your death warrant ready to sign.

If you're long on the grub, then you're damned for a dub,

If you're short, you're a miser instead,

But, however you feel, you must get the next meal--

You know what Napoleon said.

You think it's a cinch when you come to the clinch

For the man who is grinding the meat;

In the heat of the fight, why the cook's out of sight

With plenty of room to retreat

But a plump of a shell in a kitchen is hell

When the roof scatters over your head,

And you crawl on your knees to pick up the K. P.'s--

You know what Napoleon said.

If the war ever ends, we'll go back to our friends--

In the army we've nary a one;

We'll list to the prattle of this or that battle,

And then, when the story is done,

We'll say, when they ask, "Now what was your task,

And what is the glory you shed?"

"You see how they thrive--well, we kept 'em alive!

You know what Napoleon said."