Poetry of Kansas

The National Guard

We used to call 'em "dough boys," "tin soldiers" and
        the like
We used to holler "Hayfoot!" when they went out
        on a hike,
We couldn't understand what we were paying taxes
To drill a bunch of soldiers when there wasn't any
We looked upon their practice with a heap of solemn
We said they ought to stay at home and plow the
        weedy corn,
Ye aped their awkward motions when they fumbled
        a salute,
And asked them what their guns were for and who
        they meant to shoot.
Sometimes on Decoration Day we let them march
And tag the great procession of a patriotic throng,
But generally we met them with a snicker or a frown
And never looked upon them as an asset to the town.
But now it seems a change has come o'er Hicksburg
        on the plain,
Our boys are followed by the band while marching
        to the train.
They know what they are up against and seem to
        think it fun,
While the band down at the depot plays "Johnny Get
        Your Gun."
At last we found a place for them to prove their real
They're the fairest of ten thousand and the flower
        of the earth.
When Uncle Sam was short on men and up against
        it hard
The call to go against the foe was answered by the

Verdigris Valley Verse
Albert Stroud
(Coffeyville, Kansas: The Journal Press. 1917)
Page 100

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March 7, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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