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To Don Stark

To Don Stark image
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Stark, his name wuz; mor'n a thousanc " Others jest ez brave ez he, Only he'd th' chance o' showin' What wuz in him, don't you see. ■ Others fit 'n' done it spleniid- Never minded bustin' shells, Droppifl' fire 'n' death around 'em, Worse'n half a hundred hells - Never minded singin' bullets Kippin' through th' wavin' leaves Spat'rin' up th' dust afore 'em - Like th' drippin' from th' eaves. "Kid" they called him - hair was fair ish- Cheeks 'ithout a sign o' bard, Eyes wuz blue 'n' dancin', laughin'. Of th' kind that ain't afeared. Place? 'Twas down at Santiago- When? Not many weeks agc - Time? 'Twas noontime when th' sun wuz Floodin' heaven with its glow. Flat he lay 'ith all th' others- Waitin' fer th' time t' fire. Clutchin' of his rifle nervous - Achin' fer a chance t' try 'er. Finger wav'rin' on th' trigger, Holdin' back 'ith all his might, Eye a-glancin' 'long th' barrel Peepin' through th' forard sight. When th' order "Fire!" wuz given, First he wuz at pumpin' lead - Helped f fill th' trenches yc-nder Full o' dyin' and o' dead. "Rise an' charge 'em!" cap'ns shouted - He wuz on his feet th' first Never thinkin' he wuz standin' Where th' bullets rained th' worst. Then afore they'd time t' dodge it, Down from out that sunny sky Dropt a sizzlin' shell o' murdar, Struck a spot them boys wuz nign. When th' smoke had rolled beyond 'em Men wuz seen a-lyin' 'round In th' dust, an' dyin' crimson With their blood th' burnin' ground. Older chaps wuz feelin' shaky, Fear wuz lookin' out their eyes - Stomach turnin' sick with anguish, Listenin' t' th' dyin's crie1;. But 'twas only f er a minute, Then they started chargin' on Fer they seen th' kid a-lookin' At 'em shame-like - one arm gone. Pickin' up th' bloody rifle . That had fallen to his feet, On he led that charge o' soldiers, Beggin' of 'em, "Don't retreat! "You're a husky lot o' fellers, Want t' duck yer heads 'n' run Jest th' time yer mostly needed - 'Fore th' row has half begjn!" So he led 'em cross th' trenches - Over fences; up th' hill - Kep' on firin' single-handed - Gun o' his wuz never still. Led 'em right among th' Siuniards, Never thinkin' of his life, Keepin' up th' bullet dealin', Keepin' up th' bloody strife. When 'twas over- Kid he fainted, An' they carried him a-back - Ragged arm a-danglin', drippin' - Markin' out a crimson track. Stark, his name wuz - others like him - Hundreds jest ez brave ez he, Only he'd th' chance of showin' What wuz in 'im, don't you see. They forgit him? Hardly, sonny- Never'll they forgit th' day, When th' Kid led on t' victory With his lefL arm shot away.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat