(This poem presumably written by a soldier is valuable as indicating the saving sense of humor possessed by our men and which carries them through the difficult days of the training period and sustains them in the sterner and more trying days that follow.)
Sitting here in the kitchen, peeling a bucket of spuds,
Wearing a dirty apron to cover my blue serge duds,
A hundred thousand in the bank, “Society man” — that’s me;
Just because I was late at roll call, they gave me a week’s K.P.
Sitting here in the kitchen, with slops all over my jeans;
Picking rocks and splinters out of a barrel of beans,
My thoughts have gone a-wandering to what I used to be
Before I missed that last post car and they gave me a week’s K.P.
I think of the nights I squandered, doing the barroom stunt;
Gee! what a sissy I was — what a hopeless, hopeless runt!
Oh, I was there with the girls, boys, and they called me a “lady’s man.”
What would they say if they saw me now, scraping a greasy pan.
The mess sergeant’s a slaver; he gives a man no rest.
The first cook is a villain, but I have the second best.
Oh, sure, boys, I enlisted to march away to war,
But they’ve got me here in the kitchen, doing the company chores.
A week policing the kitchen, watching the biscuits browned —
Me, who used to order two thousand men around.
I wonder what those two thousand would say if they saw me now
Washing a hundred dishes, ready for 6 o’clock chow?
Two months ago, in a greenhouse, I held Anita’s hand,
Told her that I had enlisted to fight for my native land.
She leaned her head on my shoulder, said she’d be proud of me;
She’d be proud, all right, if she saw me now, doing a week’s K.P.
Dumping the slush in the hogpan, scrubbing the kitchen floor,
Swabbing a slimy mush-pan until my hands are sore,
Fixing the hash for supper, putting ice in the tea —
Archibald Percival Knutty, “society man” — that’s me!
The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Jul 25, 1918