Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

Come Back Clean


This is the song for a soldier
To sing as he rides from home
To the fields afar where the battles are
Or over the ocean's foam:
'Whatever the dangers waiting
In the lands I have not seen,
If I do not fall-if I come back at all,
Then I will come back clean.


'I may lie in the mud of the trenches,
I may reek with blood and mire,
But I will control, by the God in my soul,
The might of my man's desire.
I will fight my foe in the open,
But my sword shall be sharp and keen
For the foe within who would lure me to sin,
And I will come back clean.


'I may not leave for my children
Brave medals that I have worn,
But the blood in my veins shall leave no stains
On bride or on babes unborn;
And the scars that my body may carry
Shall not be from deeds obscene,
For my will shall say to the beast,
Obey
!
And I will come back clean.


'Oh, not on the fields of slaughter
And not in the prison-cell,
Or in hunger and cold is the story told
By war, of its darkest hell.
But the old, old sin of the senses
Can tell what that word may mean
To the soldiers' wives and to innocent lives,
And I will come back clean.'

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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