I’VE heard the cat hath nine lives,
The hen and worm I’ve seen,
But a genuine, long eared, gas-proof mule
Is the toughest thing they wean.
Each night he hauled the water-cart—
(And to know what Water means,
You have to see a trench-bound bunch
When filling their canteens.)
However, no digression now,
But straightway to my story,
And I’ll paint that black mule white
And crowned with a crown of glory.
We crowded ’round the faucets—
On each, six waited turns—
The thirstiest crew I ever knew—
With the ingrowing thirst that burns.
And all was peace and quiet—
The pause before the storm—
When distant, whirling, demon shriek
Of the G. I. Cans took form.
And when the third one got our range,
With haste, but dignity,
We sought the dugouts ‘cross the road,
Calm, though precipitously.
But the fastest thing I’ve seen on legs,
And I’ve seen the best, at that,
Was the water-mule when he took the road
At a hundred in nothing flat.
Whether he headed for gay Paree—
For Brussels or Berlin—
We didn’t stop to figure out—
But he sure was headed in.
We only thought of our thirst next day,
And a song we’d heard afar,
Of the farm recruit who bade good-bye
To his “mule with the old hee-haw.”
Well, all that they threw us gas
And high explosive shells,
And four long hours we wore our masks,
To ward the murderous smells.
And when the first white streak of dawn
Told “Stand-to” was begun,
We stumbled back and took our posts
To wait our friend the Hun.
The Hun did not appear, but gas
Thick clothed both hill and dale
In clouds and sheets of dead-man’s drab,
And down in the deepest vale—
With perfect poise and nonchalance,
Sang-froid and savoir-faire,
Browsed that fool mule, capaciously,
With never thought or care.
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