Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BATTLE, by CHARLES BADGER CLARK JR.

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BATTLE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Do you mind that old fight in the rattles
Last Line: The bill must go to mother and the girls!
Alternate Author Name(s): Clark, Badger
Subject(s): Cowboys; Death; Guns; Soldiers; War; Dead, The

Do you mind that old fight in The Rattles,
Whether sheep or cattle men should rule?
Was it that, or was it like most battles—
Just a drink too many, or a fool?
Anyhow, we all were feelin' funny,
Strong with lopin' weeks of wind and sun,
Gay, for every hand was full of money,
Safe, for every sinner packed a gun.
Hi! My! We know it, you and I—
'Twas safer in the days we packed a gun.

Seems to me that Hell bulged up from under
Through the floor, volcano-like, and broke—
Spits of leaded lightin' with its thunder,
Swearin' imps a-whirlin' through the smoke—
Dodgin', shootin' fast as they were able,
Glass and flyin' splinters in a spray—
I was jammed behind a poker table,
So I had to pull and blaze away.
Hi! My! Who of us thought to die?
All we knowed was pull and blaze away.

So we had a rippin' roarin' revel
With the red firewater of the kill,
Dancin' to the pipin' of the devil—
Then the time arrived to pay the bill.
Bud and Pecos, one across the other,
Dead below the bluish powder swirls.
Bud, that sent his money to his mother!
Pecos, with the pigtailed little girls!
Hi! My! I always wonder why
The bill must go to mother and the girls!

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