"Two Years After"
from A Ballad of Four Brothers
by George Willis (1921)
We thought when we sat in the soup, old man, with the curling flames all round,
We thought it we didn't get scorched or choked or buried or boiled or drowned,
We thought to the end of our days on earth we should live like kings uncrowned.
We thought if we ever came home alive they would fall on our necks half mad,
And turn their hearts for us inside out and load us with all they had;
That nothing would be too good for us, since nothing was then too bad.
We thought, and the thought of it warmed us up, and gave us strength anew,
And carried us on till the task was done; we thought - but it wasn't true,
For it isn't much cop down here, old man; how is it up there with you?