Private Magrath of the A.E.F
|←Poems by Robert Ervin Howard||Private Magrath of the A.E.F. (1927)
(As an aid to remembrance of November 11th, 1918)
The night was dark as a Harlem coon
Smoke and clounds once lin' the moon;
Flares goin' up with a venomous sound,
Bustin' and throwin' a green light around.
An', yeah, there was me cursin' my soul
For losin' meself from the raidin' patrol.
Creepin' along in the mud and the slime,
Cussin' and havin' the Devil's own time.
Smeared and spattered with Flanders mire,
Tearin' me clothes on the loose barbwire.
I'm crawlin' along, keepin' close to the ground,
When all of a sudden I hears me a sound.
I halt and I listen, it's too dark for sight
But some bird's ahead of me there in the night.
I reached for my gun—then I swear through me teeth
For somewhere the thing's fallen out of its sheath.
But before I can move, I hear feet a-slush
And something to meself: "Come right ahead Fritz,
I've lost me gat but I've got me mitts."
I sidestep quick as he makes his spring,
His bay'net flashes, I duck, I swing!
Flush on the jaw my right he stops,
Down in the muck on his face he flops.
I'm cursin' him for a bloody Hun
As I loosen the bay'net off his gun.
I feel for his ribs 'neath his tunic drab
For I've only time for a single stab.
I feel a locket a-danglin there,
I jerk it out, then a rockets flare
Limns it in light like crimson flame
And I see the face of a white haired dame
And German letters beneath it run,
Which I take to mean "To my darlin' son."
I haul that Hun up onto his pegs,
And I says, "Get goin'; and shake your legs.
Your line are that way, now get gone."
And I hends him a boot to help him on.
Saying, "Make tracks on your homeward path,
With the compliments of Monk Magrath."