Sunday, May 25, 2014

“Don’t Let Your Courage Fail!” by Laura Hunt (1923)

Don’t Let Your Courage Fail!


"Ma, why were the soldiers marching,

        And the poppies everywhere,

And why were you weeping, mother,

        As the bugle notes fell on the air?"

Thus spoke a chubby lad of nine

        As he clamber'd on her knee,

His mother gave a little sigh,

        But not a word spoke she.

Then mustering all her courage

        She whispered in his ear,

"The questions I'll answer later,

        My story first you'll hear."

President Wilson sat at his desk,

        Faithful and true, but tried;

Neutral treaties were vainly signed,

        But he could not stem the tide.

Nineteen hundred and seventeen,

        What sorrow thou didst bring,

For the word soon reached, both far and near,

        War had come with the Spring!

The draft ensued, the numbers were drawn,

        Your daddy's was forty-three.

My heart was sad, for well I knew

        He'd soon go over the sea.

A few fleeting weeks, 't was quickly done,

        The troops were ready to sail.

These were your dadd's parting words,

        "Don't let your courage fail!"

With tear-dimmed eyes I watched them go,

        America's choicest men.

I held you high above the crowd;

        You were an infant then.

Your daddy wrote whene'er he could.

        How I watched for his mail.

"The Allies are gaining," he'd write me,

        "So don't let your courage fail!"

The Hindenburg line was just ahead,

        A bitter fight to come,

Gener'l O'Ryan gave his orders,

        "This battle must be won!"

"'Democracy safe' is our slogan,

        Press on with all your might;

'Over the top' at midnight, boys,

        May God defend the right!"

And staunch beneath that deadly fire,

        "Over the top" they went.

The flanks were thinning on every side,

        Hills and valleys were rent.

The gunners were coming forward,

        Your dad among them all,

Bravely he stood, right at his post,

        'Till your uncle saw him fall.

They laid him away in Flanders,

        With all our heroes brave,

Who sacrificed their lives

        Democracy to save.

And this is Memorial Day,

        One day in all the year,

When homage and praise are given

        To all our heroes dear.

And though sometimes I am lonely,

        And my spirit oft may quell,

I seem to hear your daddy say,

        "Don't let your courage fail!"

Troy Times. May 29, 1923: 7 col 3.

No comments:

Post a Comment