Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MERCENARIES, by BERTON BRALEY

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MERCENARIES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: They come from all over the planet
Last Line: —this army of men on the job!
Subject(s): Labor & Laborers; Militarism; Work; Workers

They come from all over the planet,
An Army that's never at rest,
Wherever a job is, they man it,
In East, North or South or the West.
The Wops and the Slavs and the Limeys
The Hunkies and Micks and the Yanks,
Where dust, sweat and labor and grime is
They battle in militant ranks.

They war with the desert and river,
They fight with the quag and the rock,
Their blows make a continent shiver,
And mountains are split by the shock;
They lift the steel over the ridges,
They dam up the floods coming down,
They fling forth the trestles and bridges,
They burrow 'neath torrent and town.

Big-chested, big-hearted, big-handed,
They march to the furthest frontiers
And there they perform as commanded
Without any salvoes of cheers.
A hard-thewed and rough aggregation
A mixed and a polygot mob
Who battle for civilization
—This Army of Men on the Job!

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