Friday, January 1, 2010

Camouflage Poem | Paul Myron

"Camouflage and Camoufleur" in P.W. Linebarger (Paul Myron, pseud), Bugle Rhymes from France (Chicago: Mid-Nation Publishers, 1918), p. 35-36—

Uncle Sam is looking night and day, for a thousand men mechanical;
He wants 'em with their brushes and he wants 'em with their paint,
And he wants 'em, though with union rules tyrannical;
For he's in an awful hole…the Staff cannot control,
In a fix that may bring annihilation,
For he's got a million men, and then a few again,
Yet, no ca-moo-flurs, for the combination.
Lord, why didn't some one say, advisin' like a fool,
That "The war's to be won, not by the gun,
But by mechanical men, with a tool."

By mechanical men with a tool, sir.
Who can make the foe out a fool, sir.
In paintin' mirage an' green camouflage,
On the rollin' Atlantic pool, sir.

So come on, ye heroes of the day, ready with yer brush and yer turpentine,
Bring on yer canvas, yet metal and yer sheet,
An' wallop out a scence more serpentine.
Just paint this transport blue, with an ocean swell or two,
That 'ud fool any submarine commander.
And on our sectors there, paint a waste of desert air,
That will make the planes go flyin' by in dander;
For, shucks…this war is yours, on a steady union scale,
For it's all to be won, with paint…not gun,
For it's ca-moo-flage, that makes the Prussian quail.

It's ca-moo-flage that wins today, sir,
Painting' ships a tender whale-grey, sir.
A hundred batteries, it turns to grass an' trees;
It's never for a moment known to fail, sir.

Vive Camouflage! It is a hero's game, when once we've got it specified.
But there's just a little item, I hope it won't affect,
When we've got it all right rectified;
And that's the use of paint, to make Old Nick a saint,
And hide the "pro" and "slack" against the nation;
For camouflage is for just the foreign end of war,
And not to cause at home our consternation.
So, Mister Camoufleur, 'fore ye sail on foreign tour,
Just stripe each "slack" and "pro" a color that we'll know,
And rub his yellow deep, to make it sure.