Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FIGHTING SWING, by CHARLES BADGER CLARK JR.



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THE FIGHTING SWING, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Once again the regiments marching down the street
Last Line: Blood, dust, grapple and thrust—back to the fighting swing!
Alternate Author Name(s): Clark, Badger
Subject(s): Blood; Cowboys; Fights; Soldiers; War


Once again the regiments marching down the street,
Shoulders, legs and rifle barrels swinging all in time.
Let the slack civilian plod; ours the gayer feet,
Dancing to the music of the oldest earthly rhyme.

Left! Right! Trim and tight, hear the cadence fall.
(So the legion Caesar loved shook the plains of Gaul.)
Fighting bloods of all the earth in our pulses ring.
Step, lads, true to the dads! Back to the fighting swing!

We have kissed goodbye to care, left the fret and stew.
Now the crows may steal the corn; now the milk may spill.
All the worries in the world simmer down to two—
One is how to dodge the shells; one is how to kill.

Left! Right! Glints of light—down the lines they run.
(So the Janizary spears caught the desert sun.)
Once again the fighting steel has its ancient fling—
Flash! sway! battle array. Back to the fighting swing!

Every eye is hard and straight; every head is high.
Groping, wrangling days are done; let the leaders lead.
Regulations how to live, orders when to die—
Life and death in primer print any man can read.

Left! Right! Eat and fight! Dreams are blown to bits.
(Here's the Old Guard back to life, bound for Austerlitz.)
Drop the soft and quit the sweet; loose the arms that cling.
Blood, dust, grapple and thrust—back to the fighting swing!





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