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The Boys of the 39th Come Home

The train is not far
   from the station now
   and finally
   we chug home.

The sergeant says
   there will be pretty girls
   to hug our necks and kiss
   our cheeks,
   there will be old men in hats
   to shake our hands
   and say “Welcome home, son,
   good job, good job!”

There will be ticker tape
   and a big brass band
   and a parade right through
   the center of town

but this train is
   so much emptier
   than it was when we left
   for the trenches
   and none of this fanfare
   will fill it up again.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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