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Colonel wore a scowl as he sized me up
ragamuffin band, conscripts last roundup.
Four-four-two’s Mark Clark observed from the rear
seven of the ten boot-camp “volunteers.”
Offered me three stripes, I declined once more,
but that did not keep me out thick of war.
So my rucksack weight, burden I must bear,
tripled overnight, creased forehead with care.

Colonel wore a scowl as he sized me up
ragamuffin band, conscripts last roundup.
We’d been caught off guard when Pillow declared,
“No more band of rogues, y’all are Regulars.”
Two hand fighting folks, our band numbered ten,
New Order declared we’d be treated square.
Served me thirty years as a fighting mech
fear my eyes and hands from service been wrecked.

Four-four-two’s Mark Clark observed from the rear
seven of the ten boot-camp “volunteers.”
We received crash course, told Rules of Engage,
listened with intent, stood stooped at Parade.
Mark Clark called me out -hammer for nail-pop?-
tried to give me stripes told him not my wont.
“My eyes old and dim, hands twisted and frail,
barely serve at all.” I did not prevail.

Offered me three stripes, I declined once more,
but that did not keep me out thick of war.
Thick of war duties for which ill equipped,
I’d of slipped away ‘cept for young caliph.
Our bright corporal, battlefield advance,
became lieutenant, stayed so’d have a chance.
So much energy from the wet eared pup
could not bear to flee and him just leave stuck.

So my rucksack weight, burden I must bear,
tripled overnight, creased forehead with care,
would have laid down arms, gladly sound, “Retreat!”
‘cept brothers at arms want not their defeat.
On body and soul charge heavily weighed
felt would soon collapse if on course I stayed.
“Soon,” said Lieutenant to me every day,
“you will be relieved.  With our troop need stay.”

From Gen’ral Mark Clark, starting first of May,
told I’ll get reprieve, least that’s what he said.
But so many times promises not met,
always, “Just hang tight! Help from regiment.”
Bunker for fortnight I’ll bear heavy load
but if no relief have to hit the road.
Health and sanity far too high a cost
for an endless war fear already’s lost.

There’s an ancient joke, ’bout as old as Man,
of the weary troops doing all they can.
Orders from on high designed for relief
little morale boost concerning troop’s briefs.
Change of underwear HQ did provide,
“Johnson change with Brown!” fear that’s Mark Clark’s guide.
From Gen’ral Mark Clark, starting first of May,
told I’ll get reprieve, least that’s what he said.