At The 'National Encampment'

You 're grayer than one would have thought you:
The climate you have over there
In the East has apparently brought you
Disorders affecting the hair,
Which-pardon me-seems a thought spare.

You'll not take offence at my giving
Expression to notions like these.
You might have been stronger if living
Out here in our sanative breeze.
It's unhealthy here for disease.

No, I'm not as plump as a pullet.
But that's the old wound, you see.
Remember my paunching a bullet?
And how that it didn't agree
With-well, honest hardtack for me.

Just pass me the wine-I've a helly
And horrible kind of drouth!
When a fellow has that in his belly
Which didn't go in at his mouth
He's hotter than all Down South!

Great Scott! what a nasty day _that_ was
When every galoot in our crack
Division who didn't lie flat was
Dissuaded from further attack
By the bullet's felicitous whack.

'Twas there that our major slept under
Some cannon of ours on the crest,
Till they woke him by stilling their thunder,
And he cursed them for breaking his rest,
And died in the midst of his jest.

That night-it was late in November
The dead seemed uncommonly chill
To the touch; and one chap I remember
Who took it exceedingly ill
When I dragged myself over his bill.

Well, comrades, I'm off now-good morning.
Your talk is as pleasant as pie,
But, pardon me, one word of warning:
Speak little of self, say I.
That's my way. God bless you. Good-bye.

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Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. more…

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"At The 'National Encampment'" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 29 Mar. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/1722/at-the-'national-encampment'>.

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