History of the
American Field Service in France






 "Un blessé à Montauville --- urgent!"
Calls the sallow-faced téléphoniste.
The night is as black as hell's black pit,
There's snow on the wind in the east.

There's snow on the wind, there's rain on the wind,
The cold's like a rat at your bones;
You crank your car till your soul caves in,
But the engine only moans.

The night is as black as hell's black pit;
You feel your crawling way
Along the shell-gutted, gun-gashed road ---
How --- only God can say.

The "Hundred-twenties" and "Seventy-fives"
Are bellowing on the hill;
They're playing, at bowls with big trench-mines
Down at the Devil's mill.

Christ! Do you hear that shrapnel tune
Twang through the frightened air?
The Boches are shelling on Montauville ---
They're waiting for you up there!

Un blessé --- urgent? Hold your lantern up
While I turn the damned machine!
Easy, just lift him easy now!
Why, the fellow's face is green!"

"Oui, ça ne dure pas longtemps, tu sais."
"Here, cover him up ---he's cold!
Shove the stretcher --- it's stuck! That's it --- he's in!
Poor chap, not twenty years old

"Bonsoir, messieurs --- à tout à l'heure!"
And you feel for the hell-struck road.
It's ten miles off to the surgery, .
With Death and a boy for your load.

Praise God for that rocket in the trench,
Green on the ghastly sky---
That camion was dead ahead!
Let the ravitaillement by!

"Courage, mon brave! We're almost there!"
God, how the fellow groans---
And you'd give your heart to ease the jolt
Of the ambulance over the stones.

Go on, go on, through the dreadful night---
How--- only God He knows!
But now he's still! Aye, it's terribly still
On the way a dead man goes.

"Wake up, you swine asleep! Come out!
Un blessé --- urgent --- damned bad!"
A lamp streams in on the blood-stained white
And the mud-stained blue of the lad.

"Il est mort, m'sieu!" "So the poor chap's dead?"
Just there, then, on the road
You were driving a hearse the hell-black night,
With Death and a boy for your load.

O dump him down in that yawning shed,
A man at his head and feet;
Take off his ticket, his clothes, his kit,
And give him his winding sheet.

It's just another poilu that's dead;
You've hauled them every day
Till your soul has ceased to wonder and weep
At war's wild wanton play.

He died in the winter dark, alone,
In a stinking ambulance,
With God knows what upon his lips --
But in his heart was France!

S.S.U. 2
Pont-à-Mousson December, 1915



 LIKE sheet-lightning on the horizon
Glow the death fires;
Flashing, flickering, leaping from cloud to cloud,
Now dying.

Faster, faster, higher, higher
Dance the death fires.
Flames of hate, flames of destruction,
Sudden death.

Like a far-off thunderstorm
Comes, borne on the evening breeze,
The gun's chant.
Dully rumbling, sullenly muttering;

Now faint, now loudly menacing,
A diapason of death.

S.S.U. 68


To the Foreign Legion

 IF the bowl be of gold and the liquor of flame,
What if poison lie in the cup?
If the maiden be fair --- our soul's in the game,
If her kisses be death --- we'll kiss just the same
Sang the Legion of Boys Who Never Grew Up.

Blind with the blindness of Youth, but, with all of it,
Clearer of vision than seers! The refrain
"France is beset " smote their ears, and the call of it
Woke the boy dreamers from Nippon to Spain,
Boers from the Veldt, and Hidalgoes from Aragon,
Cowmen from Argentine, Yankees from Maine,
Race of the Cæsars from Venice to Taragon
Rallied to France, to play soldier again.

Under the Tri-color, long khaki files of them,
Through the Étoile, down the Champs-Élysées
Marched, while grisettes blew their kisses to miles of them,
And only the old brushed the tear-stains away,
Out where the crows spread their ominous pinions
Shadowing France from Nancy to Fay,
Singing, they marched 'gainst the Kaiser's gray minions ---
Singing the song of Boyhood at play.

If the bowl be of gold and the liquor of flame,
What if poison lie in the cup?
If the maiden be fair --- our soul's in the game,
If her kisses be death --- we'll kiss just the same,
Sang the Legion of Boys Who Will Never Grow Up!

S.S.U. 8


 I SING of Freedom and I strike for Right!
And, guided by my Mentors, mark the way
For France, though Nature's forces fain would stay
My death-ensuing, vict'ry winning flight.
One fear impelling voyage, existence o'er
One blow for France --- from comrades many more.

'Tis early morn, perhaps, or bright noontide,
Perhaps the Sun has travelled to the night.
Command is giv'n, a chance to "Strike for Right."
Unleashed, assured, I sail th' ethereal tide.
My port? A ravitaillement camp; a trench;
An avion; a battery's fire to quench.

'Tis Dark! The Lady Moon, concealing tears
Behind a cloudy kerchief, will not see
The Folly that has made our hosts to be.
She knows a moment's silence --- and appears.
We chant in chorus --- men and earth are flung!
She sees --- and goes --- again our chant is sung.

I sing of Freedom and I strike for Right!
A son, a blow for loyal France who dares.
And, strong of heart, Her mighty arm She bares
Nor rests, nor falters, bound to win the fight.
France! Loving all --- and victimized by Might!
France sings of Freedom and France strikes for Right!

S.S.U. 2



 YOUNG men of ours, whom go ye forth to seek?
--- The self-styled Cæsar who enslaves the weak.
How may ye summon him? --- Our guns shall speak.

Behind his hosts he cowers out of reach.
--- But we have pledged our lives, each unto each,
In that strong living wall to make a breach.

Last sacrifice of all is life, yet least
Unless ye losing it, so quell the Beast;
Else make ye but more fodder for his feast.

--- Fear not. Are we not all things, being brave?
More precious gifts
than life we go to save,
And know no choice but victory or the grave.

God give you victory, brave gentlemen.
The Hun ye fear not, and 'tis well; but then
Ye shall not face that foeman one in ten,

But must in humbler service learn --- how hard! ---
To work unknown, unhonored, and unscarred,
To watch, inactive yet on constant guard,

To wait --- the hardest task of all! --- to wait
The call that may come never, or too late,
To wait in vain, in vain importunate.

To wait, to watch, to work far from the front
Where beckons fame --- that is the bitter brunt
Of war: true steel the soul it shall not blunt.

That is the common burden, and thence sprung
The common enemy, whose serpent tongue
Betrays the soul war-weary and unstrung.

After the tense trench-vigil, in the gray
Monotony of camps where day by day
Life drifts in weary emptiness away,

Or in the still sad hours of nature's peace,
At eventide, when tasks mechanic cease
To drug the mind, and it, now given release,

Wings from a world where only might is strong,
Where right is martyred by triumphant wrong,
Where men shame wolves---O God, how long, how long?--

Unto a dearer land, where dear ones wait
For Peace to ope again her rusted gate,
Peace --- for how many a home, alas, too late! --

In hours like these --- and late or soon to all
They come, and oft --- a shadow like a pall
Is laid upon the spirit; past recall

Vanish the valiant ardor, the high hope
Of victory, the stern resolve to cope
With any odds. As through a telescope

Reversed, the mind sees great things small: the War
A lunatic muddle of mere greed and gore,
Of millions martyred for a pride-blown score;

Sees loyalty, devotion, sacrifice
Shrink to illusions, fostered to entice
The victim on to pay the victor's price.

So, its true balance lost, the o'erwrought mind
Reels to foul disaffection, or in blind
Apathy idles, honor left behind.

And doubt, the vapor which sick souls exhale,
May, like the genii in the Arab tale,
Cover at last the heavens with a veil,

Darkening the day for all, and stifling all.
Remember, brave young men, brave Russia's fall;
For she was brave that is the German's thrall.

The constancy that conquers self she lacked.
Pray God that ye may lack it not, but act
In all things faithful to your sacred pact.

In weariness and worry and mischance
Remember the long fortitude of France,
And write in deeds your country's true romance.

S.S.U. 14



THIS is America's day; not the Day Germany boasted.
Proud in your many inventions, little did you divine,
Little you thought, you Prussians, when you clinked
your glasses and toasted,
That it was blood you were drinking, blood, red blood,
not wine.
Well, you have had your daytime; now you have come
to twilight.
America's sun is rising; Liberty's flag is unfurled
While the hope of the Hohenzollerns fades into deep,
dark night.
From the other edge of the ocean comes the light, the
hope of the world
(Bright with the glow of God's altar fires comes the one
last hope of the world).


We do not glory in warfare, we come to avenge, not
But the red rape of Belgium, the ruin of France, are
things we have seen, and know.
Time was, in the days of knights and squires, that War
was a daughter of joy
Clad in velvet and cloth of gold, leading men on to woe.
But now we can see the rouge on her checks, and her
eyes are hard and hollow.
She has ruined men since the start of time and now, like
Time, is old.
We others are disillusioned, but the Huns, they blindly
For she says that she has sisters three --- Fame, and
Might, and Gold.
(Land of Schiller and Luther, for these is your birthright sold!)


God knows that we, if the choice were ours, and the task
we are at were ended,
Would hie ourselves madly, gladly, home and begin to
fulfil the rapturous dream
Which comes to us now and then at night, with a bloody
horror blended,
(Ah God, were it not for such visions, 't would be hard to
follow the gleam)
What dream, say you? You've had it, or will . . . A
cosy chair by a fireplace
After a good, hard day. Your dog, with his head on his
Lying there snoozing beside you, his faithful face raised
to your face . . .
And a little love and laughter, and that for you others'
(A face you love, the touch of a hand, and that for you
others' applause!)


Such is the dream, and after all, it is just for that we are
Just for that we are spending the flaming years of our
youth --
Spending, but never wasting, for where there's a wrong
that needs righting
Who cares what the price may be, so long as it's paid for
. . . At home, thank God, there is laughter --- a little,
not much, but enough;
Laughter, with tears hid behind it, not common unfeel-
ing mirth.
Laughter and love, with such things as these, can any
road be rough?
Though it lead to death in a lone drear place, afar from
the land of our birth.
(Loving laughter and laughing love, of these, at least,
there's no dearth!)


Then hasten, America's armies, come, come swift o'er the
ocean lanes,
Braving the spying submarine, and the cowardly floating
Come from our purple mountains, come from our green-
ing plains,
Come from our grain-fat meadows, from our forests of
spruce and pine,
Come, and coming, sing, the song of freer and freed,
Marching in myriad columns, on-coming millions of
Proud of our independence, come now to prove our
What can withstand, what oppose us, the radiant ranks
of right?
Purged in the glow of God's altar fires, immortal legions
of light!

S.S.U. 13


 THOU shalt be born anew, O France!
When thoughts of man's diviner self advance,
When free from carnage, war, and pain
Thy nation's spirit shall arise again.
A band of poets, statesmen, seers,
Shall honor thee, O France! through coming years.

S.S.U. 68


 ACROSS the fields and valleys gay
Far bugle calls ring out to-day.
Hark! They are calling!
For to the dim horizon's end
The battle lines of France extend
In strife appalling.

France, your sons have heard the call.
Now, your lines by town and wall
Fast are gaining;
See your ranks ---horizon blue ---
Winning Victory for you,
Death disdaining

Hear the bursting of the shells,
Where the smoke and tumult tells
Its grim story
Of the charge --- on hill and plain,
Where your valiant armies gain
Lasting glory.

With your allies --- on you go,
Driving back the stubborn foe,
While your firing
Crushes their opposing ranks,
Now their centre and their flanks
Are retiring.

France, your courage is to all
An inspiration, and a call
Brave and glorious;
And beside you we shall fight
Till the bugle calls of Right
Ring victorious.

S.S.U. 9


 O MAY I laugh! O may I weep!
O may I live again!
Here crouched, knee-deep, I fall asleep,
Drenched by the midnight rain.

I roamed knee-deep in flower-bloom,
A child, in Richmond square --
Before my doom stretched from this tomb
And caught me unaware.

O sing me a song of dreams --
Cries of a man in pain!
The moon's last beams are gone, it seems;
Dark falls the midnight rain.

O sing me a song of sunny lands,
Of waters Heaven-kissed,
Of Heavenly lands beyond these bands,
Of blood, and mire, and mist!

And, as the winds go moaning by,
O grasses, sing again!
O sing to me God's lullaby --
"Hush!" sobs the midnight rain.

And, like a wave into this grave,
Death pours its ancient night;
Here, like a grave within a grave,
I wait eternal light.

God! Must I always lie this way
Beneath the falling rain?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
At break of day he died, they say --
Lo! dawn is come again.


OSTEL, 1917

 By day
The town basks in the sun like some Aztec ruin.
There is quiet in the trenches near by; quiet and strained
The crumbling walls of the village are without habitant.

Everything changes with nightfall.
Hooded camions rumble up the street in convoy.
Out of holes in the ground come tired old men to unload
Artillery caissons strain towards the batteries
And trains of pack-mules.
Down from the trenches stumble figures shrouded in mud.
Continually there are star-shells,
And the nervous hammer of machine guns,
And ambulances.

Men work and talk; eat and dig graves;
The slow dawn comes and everything disappears --
Machines and men and animals ---
Like old-fashioned ghosts
At midnight.

By day
There are only the dead
And like vultures
The aeroplanes circling above them.

T.M.U. 526


 ROSE-WHITE the dreamy days of spring burst forth,
But still there sometimes blows
A dreary, chilling wind from out the North
That blights the rose.

At night the young delighted crescent moon
Sings, starlit, through the sky --
Yet often clouds reach out and still too soon
Its melody.

But wind and cloud, you cannot touch the spirit
Of rose-white youth, who fling
Their blossoming lives away, for they inherit
Eternal spring.

P. M. F.,
S.S.U. 13


 THE last brancard is shoved into its place
As salmon turns to yellow in the sky.
The rosy tints of early summer dawn
Give way before the sun as it climbs high.

A hasty cup of jus, a piece of bread,
A hand-clasp to the girl in yonder house,
(For she's been mighty nice while we've been here,
Sewing on buttons, mending my torn blouse,

Trying to teach me French, a hard job that!
Gave me her picture, too, and said she'd write);
And now we're off, a whistle blows, we crank,
Then down the road we wind, soon out of sight.

But just before we turned the corner there,
Where shells come whistling in 'most every night,
I looked, and she was standing by the door
A-waving to me. She's been nice, all right.

The country here is rolling, and the road
Lies white and winding, almost like a snake.
No rain has fallen for two weeks or more,
And, Lordy, what a dust those camions make!

And was n't I a fool to choose the rear?
My eyes, my nose, my ears, my clothes are filled
With fine white powder. Far ahead of me
Stretches a line of cars. On each side tilled

And verdant fields, and now a shaded road
'Mid tall and stately trees in serried ranks,
A breath o' cool, and far below a town
Nestled along a twisting river's banks.

A military band blares as we turn
The corner, twenty strong, and come to rest.
Drivers descend, and wipe their dusty eyes;
They seem like white-clad ghosts. Who would have guessed

That once those cars were blue? Well, now we're through.
A cold meal (it's too late to start the fire),
A wash, down in the brook, and then to bed;
A well-earned sleep; what more could one desire?

S.S.U. 13


 THERE'S a lure in the summer landscape
When we've done our work at the line,
When we've finished with gas and shelling
And the obus' drawn-out whine.
It's then that the Highways start calling,
And the greening fields of France,
And the yearning is strong to go rolling along
In a convoy of ambulance.

So crank the voitures up, my boys!
Make the old line twenty long;
Let the Flivver staff car lead it
And the camion tail the throng.
Then as gray car follows gray car
We will roll off
free and gay,
In convoy, in convoy,
Down along the Grand Highwayl

When we're up at the front on duty
We work as the wounded come in,
And it's not a life the most pleasant
To see wrecks where humans have been;
We like our repos --- when we get it,
And to go on permission six strong,
But there's nothing so fine as to be in the line
Of a convoy that's rolling along!

Crank the old voitures up, my boys,
Throw in your kit and trunk,
And to Henry's well-known rattle
We'll tour off
, with all our junk;
Let each gray car follow gray car
To some distant town in France
In a convoy, in a convoy,
Of the care-free Ambulance!

S.S.U. 70


 LONG, straight rows of mounds, white with chalky earth,
Heading each a slender cross of wood,
On it a name, a regiment, a benediction,
"Mort pour la France."
A few, apart, yet separated only by the hands of men,
A lonely row of Moslem graves,
With finger-like board shafts. On each
Strange-charactered, a name, a crescent, and a bene-
"Mort pour la France."
You will not see, until you walk along and watch,
That here and there are mounds, cross-marked,
"I Soldat Allemand.
All of them lie together now, poilu and Boche.
On some graves,
Sod-crosses, or perhaps a gaudy, beaded wreath,
"A notre Camarade " or "A notre Fils. "

In each gaunt mound
An empty bottle, upside down,
Holding a sodden paper, or a picture,
Taken in some laughing day.
One row is not yet finished,
The seed not yet all sown.
The holes yawn brown against the rounded white
that edges them,
They wait for men to die.
Yet this is no place of tarnished glory
Or mouldered honor.
This is the France that dies, yet cannot die.

S.S.U. 17
Written at " Village Gascon," in Champagne.



 Is beauty dead? Are ashes in the heart?
Are hate and burning pain the rules of life?
Has war extinguished all the sparks of fire,
And left us just the tedium of strife?

Now hollow footsteps echo in the street
And companies of weary soldiers pass
Yet hark! some sweet bird sings; and endlessly
The stream makes music through the yellowing grass!

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70
Villers- Cotterets
July 1, 1918




REGIMENTS at times pass through our village
And, filthy with the caked mud of the front,
They lie along the roadside, or else hunt
Their billets in damp cellars, or in stables;
And there, forgetting their abandoned tillage,
Their mining, or their clerking, or their law,
They sleep like beasts together on the straw.


Sometimes at dusk they crowd round cluttered tables,
And tipple sour Gascon wine and such;
Remember girls they left behind in Paris;
The pucker of their lips; the things they said;
Talk of them eagerly, and laugh too much.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Jolly, indeed, but if one look as far as
Their eyes, the sparkle in them is quite dead.

M. C.,
T.M.U. 526



 AFTER a tardy sun had set
We four untried lieutenants chose
The back room of the town buvette;
And there, until the next sun rose,
We each discussed, in meaty prose,
The meaning of the firmament
And all such things that no one knows.
That night we had great argument.

It was no trouble to forget
Dress and society and pose;
The girls we knew:
Marthe and Odette,
Marie and Madelon and Rose;
We did not give a thought to those;
Or other things; War, or the Rent;
Our lives; the price of furbelows.
That night we had great argument.

A crimson sun came like a threat;
We drained our glasses and arose;
Roused the good folk and paid our debt;
And rode off northward toward our foes.
Our reckless youth was at a close
And hell grew nearer as we went;
Yet life seemed good to us --- because
That night we had great argument.

A German trench on the Aillette
Next day cost half our regiment,
And all my jolly friends ---and yet
That night we had great argument.

M. C.,
T.M.U. 526



 THESE were the things they dreamed upon,
Chemin des Dames and Malmaison,
Victory and peace anon ---
These things, their dreams!

But they are gone who strove the best ---
Gone like the sunset from the west,
Sunk to the silences of rest,
Silent as dreams.

Theirs is the peace, the cold caress
Of death, and memories that bless
The valiant soul with loveliness, ---
And years for dreams!

T.M.U. 526



October 23, 1917

 LOVELY and fair you were in days of old,
A sentinel of peace to greet the dawn;
Basking under skies of blue and gold
Till twilight brought its dusky legions on.
But night with silver moon and stars agleam
Is where I glimpse you clearest in my dream.

Not long ago I climbed your shell-torn hill
And saw your ruins steeped in mud and rain,
Soaked in the blood of men white hot to kill,
A crumpled mass still quivering with pain;
While just beyond --the Boches with baleful breath
Sent screaming forth their messengers of death.

Ah, Malmaison, unhappy child of Fate!
From out your walls there comes a stifled moan;
Though you were long a slave to German hate ---
Take heart --- you are once more among your own;
As one of old who dreamed the world was free
You, too, have conquered in your Calvary.

T.M.U. 526



 FROM a full moon new mounted in the east
The golden light slants o'er the ruined town;
Slants o'er the empty shops with windows wide,
The fallen church, the houses battered down.

Here in this courtyard where was once a fount,
And overhanging trees, and walls vineclad,
Now rests a mass of stones and splintered boughs --
A vestige of the past, so strange, so sad.

Down through the lonesomeness the road runs white,
And follows past the village and the mill;
Now jagged is the silhouetted crest
Of yonder woodland which once crowned the hill.

Gone all the handiwork of years of toil,
Gone the quaint beauty of this rural life,
Ruined these rolling fields, this fertile soil --
All, all a sacrifice to human strife.

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70
Chemin des Dames
September, 1917



 IF you think that the war is all cheering and song,
If you think it's a folly that should n't be missed,
It won't be so long
Till you find you are wrong
By the long string of names on the casualty list.

The casualty list, the casualty list,
The dead and the wounded, the missing and missed;
The fellows who laughed
On the day of the draft --
Their names will go down on the casualty list!

The private who dreamed of immortal fame
In a charge when he got a slight wound on the wrist,
He turned up his toes
While blowing his nose,
And down went his name on the casualty list!

The casualty list, the casualty list,
The dead and the wounded, the missing and missed,
The cross that he won
Was a small wooden one
Inscribed with the name that went down on the list.

There's no one too lowly, and no one too proud,
To be classed with the dead and the wounded and missed,
It's neither exclusive
Nor yet too obtrusive, --
All names are alike on the casualty list.

The casualty list, the casualty list,
It follows wherever the bullet has hissed,
And there's always a place
For your name or your face
In the infinite ranks of the casualty list.

S.S.U. 70



Gray, heavy fog;
Dripping branches;
Swirling glimpses of a crumbling wall;
Down in the sea of mist
The thud of guns.

Vague objects:
A looming bank of earth beside the road;
A crooked railway track;
A shell-hole by the way.
Down in the valley
The faint smell of gas;
A jangling noise ahead:
À droite!"
A lumbering cannon caisson
Plunges from the fog, and rattles by.

A hill;
A bumpy road;
Shielding walls of burlap
Wavering in the fog.
A horn;
A ghost-like ambulance rolls by,
A waving hand --- "Good luck!"

A long blank hill
And curves;
Down in the sea of mist
The thud of guns!

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70
Chemin des Dames
October, 1917



 I WONDER, could the slain ghosts walk some night
Upon the cratered hills about Verdun,
If they would mingle there, the French, the Hun,
Glare, fleshless face to face, in lurid light
Of obus, spreading death in hustling flight? ---
Red screams of hate, mouthed out by hidden gun ---
Take up again the battle left half-won;
Incarnate now, complete the carnal fight?
Or rather, rising out of bloody sleep,
The scattered skeletons together blown,
Would not they, German, French, together sweep
Across the Rhine, say grimly: "Thou hast sown
The ruthless wind; therefore the whirlwind reap!"
And day's next dawning find an empty throne?

S.S.U. 13
August, 1917



 OH, you who sprang to your country's call,
And have done your bit in France,
Must know full well before I tell,
The song of the ambulance,

Sung as it seeks its treacherous way
Back from the trench at night,
Sung as it dances along the road
Charged with its sacred human load,
Full in the enemy's sight.

Go on, go on, delay means death!
Speed is your only chance!
Heed not the shells nor the stifling gas,
Where there's a will, there's a way to pass!
Stick to your wheel and "give her gas"!
Way for the ambulance!

"Have you heard the orders to-night, my boy?"
(I stood at the Colonel's back.)
"It seems the Hun is planning fun
In the form of an attack
The barrage is expected at half-past ten,
They are shelling the postes in advance,
It's death for the man who shows a light,
And nothing can roll on the roads to-night
Except the ambulance."

Go on, go on, delay means death!
Speed is your only chance!
Heed not the shells nor the stifling gas,
Where there's a will, there's a way to pass!
Stick to your wheel and "give her gas"!
Way for the ambulance!

If life is a game of give and take,
And war is its chief concern,
Then we who drive the ambulance,
Have something yet to learn,
For we take our share of gas and shell,
But nothing do we give,
We take our chance
That the sons of France
Though wounded, yet may live.

Go on, go on, delay means death!
Speed is your only chance!
Heed not the shells nor the stifling gas,
Where there's a will, there's a way to pass!
Stick to your wheel and "give her gas"!
Way for the ambulance!

S.S.U. 32


 NIGHT, black night;
A steep and rocky road
With splintered trees and shell-holes
By the side;
Chaotic ruins of a farm ahead:
A tower half shot away,
A fragment of. a wall.

Near by a crumbling caved-in house
The ambulance is left.
A snake-like trench
Opens to the road on either side.
No light, save here and there, at intervals,
The flash of gun-fire from the wooded hill
Across the draw;
Then darkness blacker than before.
A crash!
An obus whines and whistles on its way.
A path up through a ruined yard;
A loose thrown bank;
A sudden trench.
Then up a beaten trail,
With splintered boughs and shell-holes
All about;
A turn;
A sharp climb up the hill;
A black-mouthed open cave,
A sleepy guard, with helmet on,
Wakens, and turns a light
Into your face ...
"L'ambulance --- bien --descendez-vous."
His voice is dull;
He turns his pocket flare
Upon the dark receding steps.
You pass down in the gaping maw,
Crouched over to avoid the roof of rocks.

At last the bottom comes;
The guard above snaps off his light
And all is black.
The air is hot and foul.
A sleepy poilu by the fan
Awakes and gives the crank
A desultory turn;
The suffocating air
Puffs upward a few moments,
Then dies down.
A turn;
Ahead, and in a cornered room,
A calcium light flares white upon
The walls of rock.

Below the light,
Upon a stretcher-table,
Is a poilu, face unshaved,
His muddy uniform blood-stained,
His head thrown back,
His face contorted by the pain.
The médecin works swiftly,
And the blessé gurgles when he breathes.
The médecin looks up;
"Attends," he says, "partez --- tout à l'heure. "
Two other blessés --- assis both
With faces drawn, sit
Without sound.
At one side a couché on a stretcher
Lies, eyes closed,
And groans with every breath ...

You turn back to the darkness of the car
To miss the sight of pain.
Here in all the labyrinth
Of cavernous rooms --
Feeble flickering lights in corners
Yellow in the stifling air---
On dirty, framework bunks,
On stretchers all about,
Or on the ground
On damp and matted straw,
Lie sleeping men,
Their muddy clothes still on,
Their draggled kits about them;
Men in from all night digging
In a trench.
A poilu, overcoat drawn over him,
Stirs restlessly,
And groans in sleep.
From some dark comer of the place
There comes a troubled gasping,
And a snore.
They lie here, packed,
No space between;
Back from the trenches,
Tired, nerve-racked,
Sleeping like the dead ...

A brancardier, tired-faced,
Comes stilly up:
"Attends," he says,
" Maintenant --- partez --- deux couchés
Et deux assis --- vite."
Back by the steps some brancardiers
Strain upward, an inert form
Upon the stretcher.
Behind, another stretcher comes,
The blessé on it stifling back a groan
At every move.
Two assis follow,
Walking dizzily,
One wounded in the arm,
The other in the head.
He carries still his casque,
Its smooth steel side
Pierced in and torn.
On their backs
Their cross-slung guns
And loose strapped kits
Weigh heavily.

The entrance guard turns on
His flash again.
The group emerges from the cavern's
Yawning mouth.
The stretchers are set down;
The bearers rest.
Then of a sudden
From the outer darkness of a trench
Come sounds;
Forms appear;
A stretcher, strangely still;
They set it down.
A question asked; the answer ---
"Oui, mort; tué --- une grenade."
Then, as an afterthought --- "Pour la Patrie."
A light flashed on reveals a form,
A bloody cloth tied up around
The arms and face.

The bearers set the stretcher down
And puff, and wipe their foreheads
With their sleeves.
The steel name-disc
Is taken from the wrist;
The papers from the pockets
Are folded up and tied.
The knick-knacks gathered up --
A knife and buttons from a Boche;
A hand-made briquet;
The picture of a woman and a child ...
"Tué," a brancardier repeats again,
And then they take their covered burden
And pass up the well-worn path,
On to the hill;
On to the plot, with crosses all alike,
And waiting open graves ...

Down the rough hill
The blessés go;
A star-shell bright, intensely bright,
Bursts in the sky above
And shows the shell-torn hills
As brilliant as in day;
Slowly burns;
Drifts down, and dies.

The ruined house again;
The ambulance;
The stretchers rattle when rolled in;
The blessés moan.
The assis take the seat
Along the other side,
Their dirty traps and guns,
Piled in behind.
Then out of thin air, suddenly,
There comes a spent approaching hiss --

An arrivée!
All drop flat on the ground,
Down on the road ahead, a flash --
Red firebrands hurtling through the air --
A deafening crash;
Hot fragments rip the road about;
The earth rocks under foot
After, all jump quickly up.
The ambulance doors are slammed and locked;
The motor hums;
The brancardiers stand aside,
Relieved now of their charge:
"Au 'voir, bonne chance, monsieur."
"Au 'voir,"
you call,
And brakes released,
The car slips off.
A ditch;
A bank;
A new-made shell-hole in the road
Then down the rocky hill . . .

Of a sudden:
Crash! Crash! Crash!
The shells shriek through the air;
The guns!
The never-tiring guns again ...

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70
Chemin des Dames
September 15, 1917



 PIERRE LEGUET threw hand grenades.
A quiet soul who kept apart,
In strange un-Gallic way his griefs
Endured, and opened not his heart.

The mud, the hunger, biting rains
He bore, nor shirked allotted task,
But buoyed full oft a faltering step
With quiet hand when none did ask.

Body and soul protested deep,
He loathed the war and all its ills
(But most the tortured eyes of men)
And longed to leave the Verdun hills.

For when the evening sun swung low,
Bursting the mists and sodden skies,
And long light soothed the battered slopes,
A film would veil his straining eyes:

In southern France a quiet town
Aglow in fading light, with sheep
Slow drifting home, and muffled calls,
And play-worn children lulled asleep.

His spirit leapt the dark war zone,
Its endless vigil, toil, and woe,
He walked again the tranquil streets,
And woke and prayed for long repos.

Thus endless days dragged, endless nights,
Gloom-sharpened by the rockets' glare,
With ghastly faces peering forth,
Mud-smeared and drawn with grim despair.

But lo! a sudden change was felt;
Men joked a little, some must weep,
Through all a happy lightness ran:
Divisions changed! and rest and sleep.

A greater calm alone revealed
Leguet, for danger lurked in change,
And men were careless in their joy ---
The foe, alert, knew shift and change.

And while he dreamed of care's surcease
Alone on post, grenades at hand,
The dim gray forms came gliding forth
Across the mire of "No Man's Land,"

And onward rushed with gathering speed
While guttural shoutings filled the night.
The muttered curse, the quick alarm,
And sharp and bitter was the fight.

They vanished leaving in their train
The battered forms of friend and foe;
Yet few the friends; for one watched well ---
But Pierre had gone on long repos.

S.S.U. 13



 ACROSS the calm, clear sky of God
A great white glory gleams.
The young men find the altar-stairs
Of world-rapt hopes and dreams.
The Beast shall crumble into dust,
The blood-stained crown will fall
Before the shining armies
Of the Lord, the God of All.

Bow down, oh, ye of high estate,
Bow down, oh, ancient might.
Out of the dim, gray, faithless years
The world moves into light.
The thunder guns that reel the world
Shall sound the mighty call
Before the shining armies
Of the Lord, the God of All.

S.S.U. 17

*Killed by shell, June 12, 1918 before Montgobert.


 THEY are n't so much to look at in their clothes of faded blue,
And with all their kits and traps they wouldn't pass a stiff review;
They look at rules and regulations with only half an eye,
And the gendarmes set to watch them turn their backs and let them by;
They're a slender, moustached bunch of men, and little every one,
But for all of their appearance they're a match for any Hun!

Oh the Poilus, the Poilus, with their guns upon their back,
Every time they've met the Hun they've given him the sack ;
When hell is popping on the front, no matter how or where,
You will find that it's the Poilus who are "sticking it," out there.

When Joffre said, "We'll hold the Marne," they gave the Germans hell,
Then they knocked the spots from Fritzy down along the Somme as well;
Along the Aisne they set to rout the Kaiser's Prussian Guard,
And they broke up his return attacks and whipped him yard by yard;
When Pétain said, "They shall not pass," before that hell, Verdun,
They "stuck it" and they proved to be a match for any Hun!

Oh the Poilus, the Poilus, with their guns upon their back,
They've done the job up thoroughly, defending or attack;
It makes no difference what the work, it makes no matter where,
You will find that it's the Poilus who are "sticking it," out there.

In Belgium or in Alsace, or down along the Aisne,
At Verdun, or at Craonne, or down in the Champagne,
Take them in artillery, or take them in the tanks,
Or take them in the aeroplanes, or take them in the ranks,
Anywhere along the line, they're scrappers every one,
And they've fought it out and proved it, for they've cleaned up on the Hun!

Oh the Poilus, the Poilus, with their guns upon their back,
They are n't so very showy, but they've got the soldier's knack ;
In summer heat or winter snow, or in the star-shell's flare,
It will always be the Poilus who will "stick it out," out there!

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70



 LAMENT not, mother-land, over thy lost Youth.
Tears fall too often for mere petty things.
And raise no hymns to them that died for truth;
Not even music balms the grief that clings.
No elegy nor epic let there be
For those who gladly poured the warm, the red,
The joyous life-flood from their hearts for thee;
No verse can add a lustre to thy dead.
Hope not with canvas to immortalize,
Earth holds no colors brighter than their fame.
Nor marble e'er can catch the soul that flies,
Nor bronze e'er fix the glory of their name.
Silent and proud, one tribute cans't thou give:
end to thy living
Cause thy Youth who live.

S.S.U. 13



 O LARK, had I but powerful wings to fly
Where'er I would, up, through the boundless space!
Until, as thine, my body in the sky
Were like a shapeless speck of dust to trace.
Below, the rivers, --- each a silver wire;
Each rippling lake a shimmering sapphire;
The waving fields but tongues of verdant fire.
I would not leave the earth for very long --
Without my friends my heart would grow too cold.
I would not try to twirl thy soothing song;
Such enterprise were impudence untold.
But from the battle's roar I would away;
From swirl of war, from Chaos seeking prey: ---
O Lark, lend me thy wings but for a day!

T.M.U. 537
Réserve Mallet



Shimmering moonlight;
A shell-marked road;
Curious misshapen shadows;
Trees with fallen branches;
Fields of trampled wheat
A calm sea of yellow
In the moonlight;
Tense waiting silence;
Suddenly amid the wheat
A spit of fire,
The crash of guns ...

A high plateau;
A crossroads and a ruined farm;
A battered village;
Beneath the winding hill
The heavy guns belch forth.
A narrow valley road;
A traffic jam,
Guns, camions,
A ravitaillement train,
Machine gun carts;
Vague figures moving in and out;
A wait;
The line moves slowly on;
An opening ---
The ambulance slips through
And threads its way between the lines;
The camions fuss and jerk;
A turn,
A narrow road;
A camion pushed into the ditch.

A hill,
And then a long straight road;
Shadowy forms --
An endless line of marching troops.
Overhead a low uneven hum;
White signal rockets spurt into the sky
Tracing the bomber's course.
The thud of anti-aircraft guns,
Then high in air
The quick white pits of flame,
Like sudden stars that flash and die.
A hiss;
A flame bursts from the town ahead,
A deafening crash --- a bomb.
Full speed,
Long winding streets;
The town is passed.

A hill, a valley,
Then a long plateau;
Distant now the sound of guns;
A castle's ancient towers,
A darkened town;
The portals of an old château
The hôpital.
The car is stopped.
Out of the darkened hall
The brancardiers come
And lift the laden stretchers
From the rear;
New stretchers;
Then again the town's deserted streets,
The gendarme's sleepy stare;
Out through the crooked turning ways
The open road again;
Gone for a moment is the sound of war;
Then far away,
Against the vast night sky
A solitary star-shell mounts,
And floats,
And disappears.

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70
"Sud de l'Aisne"
July, 1918



(The following contributions were sent to the Bulletin by Sherman L Conklin, S.S.U. 17, on the day he was killed. They were probably the last things that he wrote. Readers of the Bulletin will recall Conklin's poems entitled "A Military Graveyard" and "Dawn" which appeared in the May 1918 number, together with a playful article upon "The Essence Gatherer," which he also wrote for this paper. --- American Field Service Bulletin, July, 1918.)

 WHEN age has dimmed the swift, clear glow
Of sacrificial youth,
And we look back, chagrined to know
How much we've spent for truth
(For age may dim the swift, clear glow
Of sacrificial youth),
When we are tired and gray and old,
Laggard of mind and will,
And all young dreams shall find us cold
While all our lives are still,
(For we are tired and gray and old,
Laggard of -mind and will),
Swift may the Messenger be sped
To chill our bodies, for we're dead.


 ABNER McADAMS, may his tribe increase,
Awoke one morning from dreaming of Cérise,
And saw a sergeant standing with a book,
Conning the names therein with righteous look.
Exceeding sleep had made McAdams bold,
So, as in bed luxuriously he rolled,
He spoke, "Oh Sarge, what means this look of woe?
It's hard you have to spoil your beauty so."
The sergeant spake, "Ab, I regret to say
That you should rise to greet the joyous day.
This little book contains, as you shall ken,
The names of those who serve their fellow men.
It's K. P. service detail. Look and see
The gentle news I'm sent to break to thee."
Abner arose, and cursed the world, and dressed,
For lo, McAdams' name led all the rest!



 WE'RE sick of your harps and your halos, of your well-kept heavenly things,
Of your roads without even a shell-hole (we'll be damned I if we'll use your wings).
We're sick and tired of smoking, when cigarettes flow so free
That we throw the butts half-burnt beside your Pearly Sea.
We know that we died like heroes for the lives of the men who fell,
But that's no smitten reason why we have to grow fat as hell!
Say, give us the ghost of an ambulance and let us drive away
Somewhere, where there's an angel-fight, and there, by the Lord, we'll stay.

S.S.U. 17


TO S. L. C.
Killed in action June 12, 1918

 IN that dim land to which you turned so soon ---
Too soon! --- it may be that you now can see
The destiny that shapes our little days
And fills them with the present misery;
And with your larger vision know at last
Why youth must give up youth itself, and give
Even its life --- that the ideals of youth
May thus be cherished and forever live.

S.S.U. 17
June, 1918



 MANY shall sing the victory, but you,
Who wrought so well to make the victory ours,
Shall sing no more of anything of earth.
And we may only dream of those clear songs
That you had sung among us, had the gods
Not snatched you, as of old they snatched away
The Roman Lucan and that glorious knight,
Sidney, who fell like you for freedom's sake
In that same Flanders which hath been again
An Armageddon, leaving unto men
So small a part of all that melody
That dwelt within you, and the memory
Of a fair presence and most gracious deeds.
But of all poets those who die in youth,
In the red front of battle are most loved:
And their half-finished garlands of sweet song
Are deemed more priceless than the stately wreaths
Twined by the hands of masters who grew old
'Mid heaped-up honors and the world's applause.
So in life's incompleteness there is found
The last perfection --- for we reach in dreams
A fairer land than any land may be.
Ah! You have had your wish, a shining death,
No sinking into numbness and gray years.
And you went glad with pæans in your heart
For having known "steep hillsides and the moon"
And all the myriad joys of being young.
And you shall live with us as Kilmer lives,
And Brooke, and Seeger, and all proud high hearts
Who made fair songs and loved the roar of guns.




 I ONCE stood on a green-clad little hill,
Watching the valley bathed in mist.
The earth was silent, e'en the leaves were still:
Day had not started on its grist.

Then from the East bold, blood-red beams rushed forth:
All trusty heralds of the Sun.
Sweet Nature stirred, and breezes from the North
Swept forth to greet the potent One.

The misty curtain rose with mystic might.
A house appeared, full-bathed in red.
The guardian cocks acclaimed the morning light,
And peacocks strutted, fans outspread.

Thus all the farm began to glow with life.
God's creatures found it good to be, --
To live in peace far, far from human strife,
With Nature in close harmony.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Months passed. Again I stood upon that hill,
Watching the valley hid in fog.
The earth shook 'neath my feet, and voices shrill
Came to my ears from out the bog;

For bog it was, seen in the Sun's fierce rays,
Which sought in vain for former peace.
But no friend stirred, and breezes from the ways
Whined restlessly and without cease.

Oh what a sight the swirling mist revealed!
A pile of stones, a hole, a form,
Earth's torn and bloody heart in pain, unseated.
Nought else survived War's wasting storm.

Where cocks had crowed, there stood a belching gun,
'Mid desolation, --- filthy, dire.
And where the peacocks stood to greet the Sun,
Was naught but death and reeking mire!

F. W. K.,
T.M.U. 537
Réserve Mallet



 WHY do we fight, we from a distant shore,
Removed, contained, scarce touched by all the strife,
Far from the thunders of a foreign war,
Who might in peace have followed all our life?
Our debt to France? incurred in times of old,
Graced by the workings of a despot king? ---
For Rochambeau, and Lafayette, we're told;
Our bell of freedom which they helped to ring ---
No, none of these; forget the ancient score;
A greater thing: --- For France to-day, we fight,
Our living debt to France is even more,
Her struggling battle is our cause of right.
For fine-souled France, a star too bright to go,
We come to battle back the tyrant foe!

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70


The Château in 1917

The remains of the Château after the German drive of May, 1918



 You may tack on fuss and feathers
And plumes and golden braid,
Or choose a gorgeous uniform,
As striking as is made --
Dress your soldiers as you like,
But still it will be true --
You'll have to take your hat off
To the Overcoats of Blue!

Oh, the Overcoats of Blue! The Overcoats of Blue!
They're soldiers of the finest, are the Overcoats of Blue!

You may take your men in khaki,
Your men in brown and gray,
They are first-class fighting soldiers --
They'll prove it any day!
We'll honor every one of them
For all that they've been through,
But you'll have to give the laurels
To the Overcoats of Blue!

Oh, the Overcoats of Blue! The Overcoats of Blue!
They're the finest fighting soldiers, are the Overcoats of Blue!

When this war is done and finished
We'll have a grand parade,
And to all the Allied soldiers
Will honor due be paid;
But you'll see, in all their glory,
At the head of the révue,
Just the ordinary poilus --
The "Overcoats of Blue!"

The Overcoats of Bluel The Overcoats of Blue!
They will march before the finest, will the Overcoats of Blue!

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70



 LONG lanes of trees,
Slim fingers beckoning
To the delight of roads ---
To wondrous roads of France;
Golden and straight and far,
And shadow splotched by sun,
Or, in the night, by mystery of moon,
Blessed and warm in summer's peace
They lie.

Along the roads,
Shivering skeletons
And gaunt the trees are now;
Bitter with wind and rain,
The days blink by --- so short ---
That lead to endless nights
Of searing ice upon the roads;
Cruel in winter's war ---
The Roads of France.

S.S.U. 17



 WHAT shall we say of them, the dead who died
Upon the fields of France to crush the foe?
How shall we show our pity, and our pride?
How shall we crown their glory and their woe?
Not by the means of futile words of praise --
The nameless dead do never ask this gift --
Not by the splendid monuments we raise,
Not by the half-mast flags we sadly lift:
But let this be their glory, be their due;
Let but this single thought speak for them here:
In that rich moment when they gave, each knew,
E'en as he lost the things he'd held most dear,
That, matter not what be life's unseen plan,
He'd played his part, and proved himself a man.

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70



 DARKNESS and cold,
And the squeak and scuffle of rats
About the old deserted house and hayloft.
Now and again we hear --
Somewhere far out in the frozen night --
The distant thunder of the guns,
And, from the cobweb-covered glass of a little window,
We can see
The weird and troubled flashes along the dim horizon.
Minutes seem like hours --- before we get to sleep --
But we draw the army blankets tighter around our chins
And try to forget
The cold and the darkness
And the rats in the old deserted house and hayloft.

W. C. S., JR.,
S.S.U. 9


 HUMBLY we come from homes across the sea,
Not vaunting our own glory or our fame,
To take our place in ranks among the free
And help to crush a king who has no shame.

We come not in a grand superior way,
Aiming at showy prowess o'er the world:
All that we ask is that our banner may
Beside the glorious flags of France be furled.

Forget we now our pride, our slogans loud;
Give us the work you have for us to do,
That we may sooner mingle with the crowd
And take our place beside the men of blue.

This be our wish: --- That each may do his part,
And give, out of himself, all that he can
And fight the final battle as the start,
That each, before the world, may prove a man.

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70



Here after four distracting years I rest
Beside thy banks, a pilgrim as it were
In penitence, remorseful for those years
I might have spent here battling by the side
Of these thy sons, whose gravemarks point at me.
Once more doth peace reign o'er these fertile fields
Which hedge thy sluggish waters, through the might
And valor of these noble sons of thine.
Spirits they are that haunt thy banks with those
Who years before them stemmed the rising tide
Of Attila in these same verdant fields.
I cannot think the thoughts that rise to me
As silenced here I stand and gaze across
Thy rural wonders, those low, castled hills,
Those fields of waving grain, those arbored nooks,
That once perhaps ensconced thy warrior sons,
And see thy placid surface rippled by
This cooling breeze that carries on its breath
The pealing chimes of yon cathedral bell,
Calling, as it has called through storied years,
These dwellers on thy green demesne to prayers.
Then as I watch thy green and sluggish depths
As one who gazes in some mystic crystal sphere,
The past glides by me with thy murmuring ripples.
Four years ago how little did I dream
When all the world was startled at the roar
Of Vandal guns with which thy woods resounded,
That I one day would stand upon thy banks
And play a little part in this great cause.
And, ah, how could my wildest dreams encompass
The thought of my own country drawn within
The awful strife of this embattled world.
From this high vantage point of years I now
Can view those futile days, the life I led,
And feel no pride of action, no content,
No satisfaction as of something done.
I and my world of petty circumstance
Lay deep, in that great slough of sordidness.
Half knowing, we were blinded by the gloss
Of little honors, and material things
So that our eyes saw not the gleam of truth,
The visionary glimpse of your defenders.
Now all is changed. We were not dead, thank God,
But sleeping, and our young men now have dreamed
Those dreams, and our old men have seen at last
Those visions. Here upon thy very banks
They spill their blood for that same cause so long
Sustained alone in silent heroism --
Yes, on thy banks and in the shadow of
That ancient pile erected years ago
By Charles Martel against that Age's Huns.
So may it be, may our strong sons take up
The gage of battle, pay youths' sacrifice;
And if the final test of strength be on
Thy bloodstained banks or on some other stream,
So may they fight with France's veterans,
Till France and all the world at last be free,
The Hun be vanquished, and a lasting peace
Be here ordained. And may these smiling fields
So battle scarred, hear nevermore the crash
Of guns, nor bear the step of hostile troops,
And war be vanished from the world for aye.

Réserve Mallet



 CHILDREN of To-morrow, you shall know
Life and its meaning when the world is free,
Untroubled --- wheresoever you may go
Upon the glorious land or sunlit sea.
Your years shall not be clouded by the sadness
Of long unquiet days and nights of pain,
For you, life shall be happiness and gladness,
For you --- we march to war; be this your gain:

That you may find the world kindly and fair
By day and when the stars are bright above,
For all mankind and even earth and air
Shall be a part of God's eternal love.
No longer shall the hatred and the fire
Of fury and of madness rage afar,
Kindness and love shall be the world's desire;
Strength in the right shall be its guiding star.

And so, throughout the anguish of these days,
Often we turn our thoughts to those bright years
When you shall live, and all earth's happy ways
Shall give you every blessing that endears.
It strengthens us to picture you and yours
In those immortal glorious future ages
When Right in its full strength and power endures
And war across the world no longer rages.

Children of To-morrow, whom we love,
It is for you we march to war to-day,
For you white clouds and glorious skies above
Will gladden the bright paths along your way,
And give you welcome where each prospect yields
Its gay enchantment to the passing hours:
Sun-checkered groves and fragrant clover fields,
Orchards and byways fair with summer flowers.

And when the sunset light begins to fade,
And, faint and far, the stars commence to shine
We see you standing near some balustrade
Where vines and roses tenderly entwine.
We hear soft strains of music in the night
And from the terrace we can see them dancing,
The gliding figures, and the mellow light
Upon the scene of youth and beauty glancing.

And so in thought often we see you there
In those far distant days that we shall give
To you and yours, when freedom everywhere
Will grant to each and all the right to live.
No longer then will dreariness and night
Cloud the fair hours with their pain and sorrow,
Your joyous hearts will look up to the light,
And every dawn will be a glad to-morrow.

So we salute you --- spirits yet unborn
Upon this earth --- your love the guiding star
That leads us on through these dark days forlorn,
Our hope that beckons to us from afar.
We now take up our burden day by day
As we have done through the long years before,
Resolved, that when in turn you tread earth's way
Immortal love shall guide you evermore.

W. C. S., JR.,
S.S.U. 9
August 18, 1918



 SPIRIT of France, immortal, hail to thee!
Symbol of hope throughout these darkened years
When tyranny and might on land and sea
Bring pain and tears.

Thou and thy valiant allies, bronzed and brave,
Battle unceasingly against the foe,
Forward across the land and on the wave
Thy legions go.

Forward, and hark the magic of each name
That leads thine armies in the great world war:
The Marne, Verdun and Reims --- eternal fame
For evermore.

Spirit of France, give ever to the world
The faith and sunshine of thy joyous heart,
Wherever freedom's flag shall be unfurled
Thy strength impart:

Strength in the hour of trial and of pain,
Bravely to bear the agony and night,
Trusting that dawn will bring to all again
Its glorious light.

W. C. S., JR.,
S.S.U. 9
August 4, 1918




 THERE is a poppy blowing in the field
For every grave that marks the silent grief
For those who died defending the belief
That honor is a trust no man can yield.
And you, O France! with the untarnished shield
Of Joan of old, are brave as on the day
The first of these were called and went away
To die because you and the right appealed.
Yet mourn them not; what though they had to go?
Do you regret the evening hush, or weep
In vain the tender blood that learned to grow
Into a flower fair?
Here where they sleep
Upon your breast, the crimson blossoms blow,
And in your heart what memories you keep!

J. B. C.,
S.S.U. 17
Near Verdun



 AROUND me roars the fury of a night
Whose erstwhile tranquil summer skies are overborne
And crimsoned by the ravage of the fight;
From whose nocturnal distances are torn
The myst'ries once so pregnant in the womb
Of its ethereal darkness. High and higher
Flare the star-shells, by whose light the tomb
Of this last butchered day is bathed in fire.

Before me, outlined on the trembling hill,
The trench line lies like some huge, endless snake
Whose serpentine convulsions now are still,
But who abides a crafty time to make
The sudden move that spreads his poison far.
The rockets' glares are but his million eyes;
His hiss is in the speeding shells that mar
The green turf where his uncouth body lies.

The star-shells flare; night gapes another wound
For each gun fired and each new signal light;
These multiply; ere long the night has swooned
Before the fair, false dazzle of the fight.
Brighter and yet brighter still it glows,
And night is day, but day made red with strife,
While drunk with his achievement, on man goes
Upon the mission that makes death of life ...

And then, his puny fury spent, he calls
His legions into silence, and the fight
Fades into distance, and a quiet falls,
And man-made day is vanquished by a night
As calm, unruffled as before the hour
When first a star-shell flared or first a gun
Belched forth the venom of its evil power
To summon mates to action, one by one.

And thus about me falls the tranquil night
While, rich in mystery, the summer skies
Bring forth the clear, inimitable light
Of God's own stars --- that are the patient eyes
Of those we knew and loved once long ago,
And who are dead (or so we say) yet see
How little we poor humans live to know,
Since death is but life in Eternity.

J. B. C.,
S. S. U. 17



 ONE year; again my thoughts go wandering back
Recalling memories of those former days;
The homeland parting and the billowed track
O'er the Atlantic, with its danger ways;
The swirling wake of blue; the sun's hard rays;
The unknown course, the constant turn and tack;
At night the darkened decks; the engine's beat;
Inside, the music, smoke, and stifling heat.

Landing, and the sight of France; the green,
The harbor and the hills that folded down;
The merchant ships at anchor; in between,
The fishing fleet, with sails of blue and brown;
The red tiles of the little harbor town;
Ne'er seemed a land so sweet, so fresh, so clean!
France! and all the charm we thought there'd be,
All that we'd dreamed, all that we'd come to see!

Bordeaux; cathedral spires that touched the sky,
The picturesqueness of a foreign shore;
The cheers, the flag of France on high,
And on this July Fourth all honor more
To our starred banner, carried by the war
To float in France that freedom might not die,
To recognize our common cause of right,
To bear our proper burden in the fight.

Paris; voices, faces strange, strange ways;
A military life we were n't used to;
A gorgeous pageant passed before our gaze --
a sea of uniforms, red, brown, and blue;
a sense of strangeness --- everything was new;
The city seemed a mystic wondrous maze
Of shops and boulevards, a swirl of life
All colored, saddened, by the tireless strife.

Then onward to the war zone, to a town
Long torn and ruined by the German hate,
Long subject to the cruel invader's frown,
Despoiled and ransacked, left unto its fate.
Gone the invaders now; and now elate,
With courage brutal force could rot beat down,
Were these brave folk of ruined Picardy --
Glad to be living, glad but to be free!

Then came the endless waiting, when we yearned
For warlike days of action and of dash;
A month had passed before at last we turned
Up toward the front, and heard the thundering crash
Of cannon; learned the work at night; the flash
Of guns that light the way; men gassed and burned,
Men ripped by steel, the endless round of things
That war with all its tireless turmoil brings.

Then on the Aisne there came our days of stress,
The thundering barrage, its endless beat;
The thrill of the attack, the sudden press,
The wounded straggling from the battle's heat;
The swift advance that brought the Boche defeat,
The joy of power, the glory of success;
Those days and nights that passed with scarce a rest
Still seem to us the finest and the best.

Then came the winter's dreariness and cold
When all the pomp and glory died away,
When things that thrilled us once seemed poor and old;
And newness ceased; the life had come to stay;
Few changes marked the passing of the day.
Slowly we fitted to war's patterned mold;
Long tedium came, o'ershadowing the start,
Killing the eager flame within the heart.

At last came promise of the greening spring,
And sunshine mixed with sudden sleet and snow;
We wondered ever what these days would bring,
And when and where would fall the German blow;
Our eyes turned ever toward the menacing foe;
The days grew warm; the birds began to sing;
Then terror came; the cannon boomed again,
And lavish death cut down the ranks of men.

Now once again has come the thrilling round:
The line, the convoy, and the work at night;
The cannons' endless monotone of sound,
And evening skies a-waver with their light....
Soon may they pass, these days of brutal Might,
And in the victory may there be found
That joy of living that we knew of old,
That gentle peace that is the finest gold!

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70
"Sud de l'Aisne "
July, 1918


 THE battle rolls away --- as my life here
Must soon achieve an even greater sphere.
Upon this yawning threshold, Lord, I view
In awe the change that draws me nearer You.
Yours is the Hand to give, the Hand to take,
And yet I pray You this, for dear Christ's sake:

For my poor comrade here, whose labored breath
Tears through his tortured throat, the peace of death;
For these poor wounded writhing in distress,
The utter balm of deep unconsciousness;
With speedy succor of their hurt, that lie
So wet, forlorn beneath the weeping sky.

Grant to the busy surgeons skill that they,
Though wearied, still can mend this broken clay;
And to the tired nurses give the strength
To toil through yet another hard day's length;
With last, to nurse and surgeon both, the deep
Contentment of a sweet restoring sleep.

And for my mother --- God, allay her pain
With faith her gift has not been made in vain;
Grant for her loneliness bright memories
Of the child who played about her knees;
And for her precious tears, if they should flow,
Lord, give her this acceptance that I know.

J. B. C.,
S.S.U. 17



 THERE is music where the evening breezes kiss the clover bed,
There is music where the breezes brush the blossoms overhead,
And my heart is filled with music, filled with love --- though love is dead--
Like some dusty sheet of music that is left unsung, unread.

There is rapture in the shading of the distant skies of night,
And the stars are scorched with passion, 'til they glisten clear and white;
Now my eyes reflect the splendor of your own eyes' purest light
In a flood of recollection, while I tingle with delight.

There is perfume in the gardens, that I find so dark and drear,
That is wafted as the incense from some flower-covered bier;
Yet the odors of an autumn night soon fade and disappear,
Like the blossom of the rose that droops and lies abandoned here.

For the air is overburdened with a sorrow heaven-born,
And the dew drops are the tear drops of a dream that is outworn;
All your beauty gives a longing that but leaves me more forlorn--
And I turn away from dreaming, and I hunger for the morn.

J. B. C.,
S.S.U. 17



 THEY stare at one another, have forgot
The common tongue they spoke once long ago;
Yet by some instinct unexplained, they know
That in a bygone age, their common lot
Perhaps lay in a feverish jungle spot.
They see again the sullen rivers flow,
They feel the plague-winds, poison-laden, blow,
And scent some prisoner seething in the pot.

Their race speaks for them, black replies to black.
They grin with friendships inarticulate,
Old memories strive in vain again to track
Those pathless centuries, before the Great
Tormentor cast the world upon the rack
And tied again the ravellings of their fate.

P. M. F.,
S.S.U. 13



 WHERE I shall fall upon my battle ground
There may I rest --- nor carry me away.
What holier hills could in these days be found
Than hills of France to hold a soldier's clay?
Nor need ye place the cross of wooden stuff
Over my head to mark my age and name;
This very ground is monument enough!
'T is all I wish of show or outward fame.
Deep in the hearts of fellow countrymen
My first immortal sepulchre shall be,
Greater than all the tombs of ancient kings.
What matter where my dust shall scatter then?
I shall have served my country oversea
And loved her --- dying with a heart that sings.

S.S.U. 65



 My pain of wandering and these lonely days
Will have an ending in some quiet form
Whose certitude I feel.
Of home and springtide and of tender ways,
Of fireside havens when December flays
My homeland fields with sleety stinging storm
Over an icy seal.

How oft, beyond the roaring and the fire,
I see beyond a beckoning of bliss
In quiet tender eyes.
Beyond the stenches of this carnal pyre
I scent the honey of a blossomed briar.
I feel the courage of a promised kiss
Out of my heart arise.

The loss of comrades, and the weary nights,
And all this seeming endlessness of time
Were hard to bear
Except I see my labor in the light
Of other comrades suffering this plight,
Who wait, as I, those moments of a clime
Where love and peace shall fare.

R. W. G.,
S.S.U. 65


 No more to stroll for half a day
Along the careless Avenue,
No more to doze the night away,
Reading of deeds that others do.
Cards, wine, avaunt! Get out! I'm through;
I'm going to drive an ambulance,
A Ford, mind, for a year or two,
Along a shell-swept road in France.

They will not miss me at the play;
The charming Mrs. Pettigrew
Will hold her teas each Saturday
Without much caring what I do.
The class-room and the green-room too
Will get along, so will the dance,
No matter what trials I go through
Along a shell-swept road in France.

J. L., my friend, just now you say ---
And you are quite in earnest, too ---
"War is stupidity," you say,
And, "It is folly to imbue
A land with hate --- "All very true.
But though you call it petulance
Of mine --- I feel I'll meet with you
Along a shelf-swept road in France.

The publican, the priest, the Jew,
The actor shorn of radiance,
Will go a-marching --- so will you --
Along a shell-swept road in France.

M. C.,
T.M.U. 526



 STUMBLING through the shadows and the shades,
With hands outstretched between them
As though they were tangible masses
That might be parted, pushed aside, ---
I wandered through the night.
A night so dark that even a coal,
Would shine like a pearl.

Above the sullen boom,
The nervous rumble of distant guns,
Subdued sounds came to my ears,
Increasing as I wandered on, becoming
Louder and louder, with clatter and rattle;
Varied, more varied: a rolling and rumbling,
A scraping, a roaring, a crashing, a cracking.
Yet in the opaque, the massive darkness of the night,
To me the sound was caused by sound, and sound alone:
My eyes saw naught.

Then with a hiss, boring its way through the blackness,
Like a fiery serpent with luminous tail,
There rose in the air a ball,
Until, suddenly, with a blinding flash
It burst; and in its place, like a new planet --
Transported, brilliant and powerful, from some distant zone --
Hung a light. And in the light I saw the sound:
Horses, guns, munition carts: a seething swarm,
Moving like a billion molecules of one vast germ.
Here a wagon, there a truck: passing, repassing,
Man and beast, toiling slowly, winding and interwinding,
But moving ever onward.

Then the light vanished, and the sound went on.
But I had seen: The hands, the fingers of War,
Were bearing food to fill his foul belly!
This was the sound.

F. W. K.,
T.M.U. 537



 A BLACK, dark road, and rain;
Mud underfoot;
No lights;
The crunch of wheels;
The jangle of a chain;
The noisy bumping of a camion train.

Dim forms;
The shuffling steps of men;
The slush of mud;
A vivid lightning flash,
A rocket's flare,
A shell's slow droning through the air.

Black dank woods;
An endless wagon line;
A spurt of fire,
A crash --- then blackness;
Endless rain;
The noisy bumping of a camion train.

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70
Chemin des Dames
October 16, 1917


 THE star-shells flare; the tortuous trenches wind
In snake-like turns from sea to mountain height;
The power of man and power of steel combined
Send laden death upon its hissing flight.
Long lines of men in faded blue and brown
March grimly up toward agony and pain,
Charge shell-torn lands of fire and steel, go down,
And lie and rot --- all for a distant gain!
Come, come, O Bard, from out some unknown place,
Come and record in words and songs of fire
The sacrifice, the struggle of the race,
The fight to check an emperor's desire!
Strike on thy harp, here where such force is hurled,
Give us an Iliad of the Western World!

R. A. D.,
S.S.U. 70
Chemin des Dames
October, 1917



 ONE by one the star-points fade;
Weirdly in the eastern sky
Comes the dawn; its light and shade
Strangely tinge the clouds on high,
And the cheerless day reveals
A ruined town, a shattered wall,
Across the dreary fields ahead
A line of trenches which conceals
The cellars of a levelled hall.
The hostile trenches far extend;
In "No Man's Land" a few cold dead
With the malignant landscape blend.
Now and again the sullen roar
Of the artillery wakes the air
And dies away --- and as before:
The haunted stillness everywhere.

W. C. S., JR.,
S.S.U. 9
August 26, 1918



 IN the weird night the lurid smoke drifts high;
The flare of burning towns along the lines
Of the retreat illumines the dark sky;
Dreary and desolate, the river winds
Its haunted way, along its banks forlorn
A few grotesque and shattered trunks of trees
Like ghosts are standing, stark and gray and torn,
There is no sign of life, no stirring breeze,
Only the distant battle's dull refrain:
The ever-rolling rumble from afar
Of cannonading, and across the plain
The restless flashes of the guns of war.

W. C. S., JR.,
S.S.U. 9



 My hurt? --- It is better now,
But I love to pretend that it's not.
It doesn't much matter how
I got it --'t were better forgot.
Days since was I discharged
From that weary abode of pain.
When I complained I enlarged
On the truth, --- just to see you again!
The wound needed care, so I said,
(Though it scarcely pained me at all
But I pointed the place where it bled)
So they said I had better call
At the hospital day and night
For a dressing. Ah, well I knew
There was no one there who could quite
Take care of my wound like you.
So my little ruse succeeded;
But it was n't medical care:
'T was the sight of your face I needed;
I knew that I'd find you there.
I wanted the touch of your hand
And the tender look of your eyes
As you carefully wound the band ---
So clever, you were, and so wise!
Asking me (full of concern)
If it hurt, till I wished that it did,
Wished for some horrible burn,
I'd enjoy the pain that I hid.
And then how sweet was your smile
As your deft little fingers smoothed
The bandage, solicitous, while,
I waited and watched and approved.
But the crowning joy of it all
Was when you buttoned my coat.
How pretty you were, and how small,
As you reached to fasten the throat!
And how I waited to hear
Your voice in its accents sweet,
So full of music and clear,
Say to me, "Voilà, mon petit"!
And I wanted somehow to be good
When you smiled me an "au revoir"
And I saw you there as you stood
And knew what good women are.

D. D.
Réserve Mallet



 OVER the crumbled bas-reliefs,
Exquisite stories of saintly griefs,
Grandeur wrecked beyond belief,
Drips the rain.

Through the shattered windows sweep
The rain gusts; in the twilight deep,
The tall, majestic towers sleep,
Defiant still.

But, out of the low-hung graying skies
Rain drops fall in the Virgin's eyes
And she weeps anew, with the gust that sighs,
God's tears.

D. D.
Réserve Mallet



 God of Battles! In this Night
Of Death and Crashing Worlds and Things,
Let Hope despair not of the Light
Nor Love the rustle of a Wing.

So prayed we in that darkest hour
That comes before the morning break,
When dread misgivings overpower,
And souls the staunchest seem to shake.

And then athwart the rugged peaks
Unheralded appeared the Day.
Across the Dawn the bloody streaks
The smoke and uproar cleared away.

God of Battles! May this Light
Re-usher in the era when
Thy multitudes in holy white
Sang "Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men."

D. D.
Réserve Mallet



 SLOWLY the pink and gold of sunset light
Comes in the western sky,
And with its rosy glow
Warms the shell-shattered ruins of the near-by town,
And the desolate barren stretch of "No Man's Land."
At fitful intervals
From the far plains and hills on either side,
Down the long battle line,
Rolls the reverberant echo of the guns.
How kindly is the heaven-sent light of the setting sun
Amid this scene of death and utter desolation;
In changing hues its colors glow on hill and rosy cloud-bank
Till at last
They fade into the twilight,
And in the sky
Appears the evening star.

S.S.U. 9
France, October 6, 1918



 UPON a summer's day, a child is playing
Beside a green and fragrant clover field,
Along the flower bordered pathway straying;
On every side the ripened harvest yield,
Of sunlit grain and hay awaits the reaping,
Each vista with the mood of summer blends
And where the vines and roses now are sleeping
A crumbled wall extends.

The child stoops down and picks a flower growing
Close to the vines that cover the old wall,
And rests a moment by the stones --- unknowing
How in the darkened days when war's grim call
Summoned the armies --- once a battle raging
Stormed back and forth across that very land
And by the wall --- in mortal strife engaging
The soldiers took their stand.

But now the sunshine and the meadow flowers
Gladden the heart of the responsive child
Through the enchanted, golden summer hours
With happiness unclouded, undefiled.
How tranquilly all nature now reposes,
How fragrant is the grass and clover where
The child kneels down beside the vines and roses
To gather flowers there.

W. C. S., JR.,
S.S.U. 9
France, October 3, 1918



 THIS is the only heritage we give you --
A new world, clean, if blood can make it so.
Would we could stay and watch it, flower-like, blow
Into full glory. Happy are the few
Who thus can linger, watch, and say it grew
As they had hoped. Ourselves, we cannot know
Whether we gained more happiness than woe,
Failed, or achieved the work we tried to do.

Our lives point out the bleeding path we came
And this one thing is certain: Not a bar
Obstructs your silver-winged way. The blame
Is yours, if you stand idle and afar
Until your dazzlingly, splendorous wings grow lame,
And mist has dimmed the shining of your star.

P. M. F.,
S.S.U. 13



 THE Tide has Turned, and now the Allied ranks
Are sweeping forward to the north again
Driving the enemy on front and flanks
Across the plain.

The Marne is free --- no longer shall the foe
Strive to break past it with barbaric force,
The quiet river peacefully shall flow
Along its course.

The Allied armies in the cause of right
Victoriously strive --- and this shall be
The monument of their immortal fight:
The world set free.

W. C. S., JR.,
S.S.U. 9
August 4,1918



1. This was written in remembrance of Sherman L. Conklin, S.S.U. 17, who was killed at his woodland poste on June 12, 1918.

Literature of the Field Service: Humorous Sketches

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