The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

A Wayside in France

"COME shake hands, my little peach blossom.

That's right, dear, climb up on my knee.

This big Yankee soldier is lonesome--

Ah, now we'll be friends, ma chérie.

We won't understand one another,

Your round eyes are telling me so,

But the cling of your chubby fingers

Is a language that all daddies know.

When I caught a sight of your pigtails

And those eves of violet blue,

It made me heart-hungry, ma petite,

For I've a wee girl just like you.

She lives 'way across the wide ocean,

Out where the bald eagles nest,

And she knows all the chipmunks and gophers

At my shack out in the West.''

"Tu dis I'ouest! Est-ce ton pays?

Veux-tu, quand tu iras chez-toi--

Maman est toujours à pleurer

Me retrouver mon soldat Papa?

Il etait avec sa batterie

Près des Anglais la en campagne

Mais Papa est allé dans l'ouest

Des Anglais disaient à Maman;

Alors, Maman sera heureuse

Et, tu vois elle tie pleurera plus

Je veux te donner on baiser,--,

Merci! To es si bon pour nous!"

There she goes! She told me her secret,

Kissed me and then flew away,--

Say, Poilu! You savez some English,

Now what did that little tot say?

"She say Engleeshman tol' her Mama

Zat her soldat Papa eez gone West!

You said West, bien! Zen you live zaire,

So she make you her leetle request,

Zat you find heem in your countree

So her Mama no more she weel cry;

Zen she thank you an' kees you, si joyeuse,--

Pauvre mignonne, she think you weel try!"