Among the items my great-uncle copied was one that he apparently had time to type up. It is a poem called “The Worried Soldier” by the British-born American poet, Edgar A. Guest. This seems to have had wide distribution, not surprising since Guest had a newspaper column, “Just Folks.” It appeared in 1918.
He was dreaming through the drilling, he was half a step behind; / He was marching like a soldier who had something on his mind. / And the Colonel, who was watching as his boys were on review, / Couldn’t understand the trouble, but the sergeant-major knew.
Once he broke the line by missing the command to make a wheel, / And they thundered curses at him till his brain began to reel. / His captain called him lazy, his lieutenant scorned him, too, / And they wondered why he faltered, but the sergeant-major knew.
When at last the drill was over and they had been dismissed, / They put the blundering soldier on the extra duty list. / But the sergeant-major saved him when the Colonel heard him say, / “He hasn’t had a letter from his folks in many a day.”
Would you help him in his battle, would you keep his mind in trim? / Then send some cheerful message every day or two to him. / Every soldier understands it, when they are passing out the mail, / The boy who is forgotten is the boy who’s sure to fail.