Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

The Stevedores - Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We are the army stevedores, lusty and virile and strong,
We are given the hardest work of the war, and the hours are long.
We handle the heavy boxes, and shovel the dirty coal;
While soldiers and sailors work in the light, we burrow below like a mole.
But somebody has to do this work, or the soldiers could not fight!
And whatever work is given a man, is good if he does it right.

We are the army stevedores, and we are volunteers.
We did not wait for the draft to come, to put aside our fears;
We flung them away on the winds of fate, at the very first call of our land,
And each of us offered a willing heart and the strength of a brawny hand.
We are the army stevedores, and work as we must and may,
The cross of honour will never be ours to proudly wear away.

But the men at the Front could never be there,
And the battles could not be won,
If the stevedores stopped in their dull routine
And left their work undone.
Somebody has to do this work, be glad that it isn't you!
We are the army stevedores-give us our due!

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 2, 2010

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