Fifes and Drums/The Roundabout Committee and the Circumlocution Board

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Fifes and Drums by The Vigilantes
The Roundabout Committee and the Circumlocution Board by Wallace Irwin


A Nation went to war against a rather ruthless foe;
It hadn't any army, so it wondered who would go
To do the deeds of valor which the crisis did require,
To help the French to take the trench and do it under fire.

So Congress got together and the Senate did the same
To raise a million soldiers who would put the foe to shame,
And they quickly passed the matter up, with one complete accord,
To the Roundabout Committee and the Circumlocution Board.

Now the Roundabout Committee sat and talked for weeks and weeks
On Methods of Preparedness among the Ancient Greeks
While the Circumlocution Board it scratched its thoughtful double chin,
And lingered late in wise debate on "Where Shall We Begin?"

A Patriot rushed in and cried, "The Foe is at our gate!"
But the Circumlocution Board replied, "Just tell him, please, to wait.
We're listening to an Army Plan devised by Senator Drool
To raise nine million soldiers through his Correspondence School."

Then the Patriot, who was hasty, raged and stamped upon his hat.
"You're really doing nothing and you're taking years at that."
Whereat the wise Committee bobbed its head and answered, "True.
Take note of that, stenographer. That's what we're here to do."

A Military Training Bill the President did advise
They set upon with pencils and reviewed with hostile eyes.
"It is much too plain and simple. Let's revise it so and thus;
We can jumble any issue, if you'll leave the job to us."

So at last the land grew weary and implored with shrieks and sobs,
"Let our welfare be conducted by some men who know their jobs.
Are our railroads run by poets? Or do cobblers harvest hay?
Then in military matters why should windmills rule the day?"

But the question was so pointed and its moral so direct
That it could not thread the labyrinthine hallways, we suspect,
Leading to the Inner Sanctum of the Crooked Wooden Sword,
Of the Roundabout Committee and the Circumlocution Board.

Wallace Irwin.