In the horror and destruction of war, soldiers find a living creature to cherish...but war is war. This curious poem offers an unvarnished look at what even the oddest mascot means to those on the front lines.
LITTLE PET CHICKEN
Went to a house in Belgium;
Folks all dead—place on the bum—
All on account of a bloomin' shell;
I tell yah war is jest plain hell.
There was a gal about fourteen year;
To think of her now it brings a tear;
An' right atop of her shinin' hair
A little pet chicken a-nestlin' there.
We tuck 'im back to make us a fry,
When somebuddy said: "Don't kill 'im, le's try
To feed an' keep 'im an' make 'im our pet."
An' that's jest what we done, you bet!
That dern little chicken, ef you'll b'lieve me,
Jest loved a fight the same as we;
Follyed us everywhere, ev'ry minute;
Wasn't a scrap that he wasn't in it;
Tell one foggy day we'd been plantin' mines,
An' got way inter the inemy's lines,
An' started back, we heard a squawk
Like a chicken makes when it sees a hawk;
An' there on the ground was a red hot wire,
A snaky line o' livin' fire.
Burned to a crisp was our little pet chicken!
Think of it now an' it makes me sicken.
We flattened out an' the bullets went over,
The current went off an' we crawled back to cover.
An' some of us cussed an' a few of us cried
When we thought how our little pet chicken died.
Dora Nelson, A Farm in Picardy (Cornhill Company, 1919) pp. 33-4