Open main menu

FATHER AND SON

Permission of the author

I

THE FATHER

Would God that I could go in place
Of him, my hope of house and race.
Would I could shoulder knapsack, gun
Against the wild and furious Hun.
Would I could face the tempest, rain,
The bullets, hunger, thirst and pain.
I'd revel in the maddest fray,
If only he, my boy, could stay.


I would be glad to sink in sea,
Be crucified, or hanged on tree,
Or fall in airplane from the sky.
I've lived. What matter when I die?
I'd stand, with smiles, in vilest trench,
And laugh at gases, mud and stench.
I would not wail for eyes gone blind,
Or shrink from shatt'ring of the mind,
I'd revel in the maddest fray,
If only he, my boy, could stay.


'Tis ill to know his youthful breast
May be by pallid fear oppressed;
That he may fall in brutal hands
And be a slave to their commands;
That he may shudder, starve and thirst
Among the demon Huns accursed.
Oh, joy, if I could only go
And take the pain and bear the blow!
I'd revel in the maddest fray,
If only he, my boy, could stay.


His boyish flesh is all too fair
To meet the brutes and devils there.
His face it is too glad and bright
To front the demons of the night.
His heart it is too kind and warm
To bear the ice and snow and storm.
Would I for him herewith could go
And bear the pain and face the foe,
I'd revel in the maddest fray,
If only he, my boy, could stay.


II

THE SON

The call to duty now has come;
The flags are out, with fife and drum.
The cause for which we fight is just;
In God above is all our trust.
I gladly go to do my share;
My chance is equal and is fair.
I hope, indeed, that I may live;
In need I have a life to give.


My father long has done his part;
He gave me home and all his heart.
I'd be unworthy of my race
If peril now I dared not face.
My country has done all for me;
I gladly serve to keep it free.
I hope, indeed, that I may live;
In need I have a life to give.


I feel my heart is strong within;
I prize the chance to fight and win.
And if I perish, I but ask
That word come back I did my task.
I'll act so that no blush of shame
Will come to them that bear my name.
I'm happy that, where'er I roam,
My father is secure at home.
I hope, indeed, that I may live;
In need I have a life to give.