He Said He Had Been a Soldier

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He said he had been a soldier,
That his wife and children
Had died in Jamaica.
He had a begger's wallet over his shoulders,
And a coat of shreds and patches.
And though his body was bent,
He was tall
And had the look of one
Used to have been upright.

I talked a while, and then
I gave him a piece of cold bacon
And a penny.

This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.