Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SAN JUAN, by HERBERT KAUFMAN



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SAN JUAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Stuttering gatling and sputtering / mauser
Last Line: To set out for hell in a gentleman's way.
Subject(s): Fights; Murder


STUTTERING Gatling and sputtering Mauser,
Rumble of field piece and grumble of shell;
On they come flying, boot-heels on their dying,
Yapping and scrapping and raising blue hell!

Shoulder to shoulder, up hillside they fumble.
One man is singing and one dropping dead.
One has gone daft with the joy of good killing.
One has a spurting hole plugged through his head.

Idaho herder and clearing house runner,
Riff of the mining camps, doctors of law,
Strangers in motherhood, wrought into brother-hood,
Brought back to cavemen and brutes in the raw.

Rough of the cowlands you gambler, you rustler,
Godless you are, but you kill like a prince!
Loafer of clubrooms, your soul code is putrid,
But damned if the bared teeth of death make you wince!

Go to Wyoming or out to Nevada,
Ask in Missouri, and they'll tell you how
When that whole hillside spewed bullets like hailstones,
Laughing and chaffing the dudes led the row.

Up at Tuxedo, at Newport, at Larchmont,
Round about Hempstead, you'll find chaps who say
That a man does n't need to know pink teas or germans
To set out for hell in a gentleman's way.





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