ATHENS, CITY UNKNOWN
OLD FOLKS AT HOME
FACING A GENERAL ELECTION
(A Short Ballad on the Short Life of Billy Twice)
The Lords entrenched in Parliament
and men of cash advance
drank white Bordeaux with Gruyère cheese.
The Kaiser swallowed France.
Young Billy Twice, he'd eat that horse
whose mane was full of lice
the Huns left dead in no man's land,
except there were the mice,
or maybe rats, God knows what else
he said behind his mask
he lifts to eat his tin man meat
Huns spiced with mustard gas.
Because his Dad was Billy too,
they call him Billy Twice
when in the trenches Billy sings
to God on silent night
like some canary in a mine
preventing men from death
but here a sweet song won't forewarn
death's burn in lungs and flesh.
He knew the peril gas could be,
although a different kind,
beneath the colliers' hills in Wales,
the mines he left behind
to sow king's seeds of victory
at England's Battle Call.
Your chums are fighting. Why aren't you?
to prove your worth to all
be sure to eat more corn, more oats,
and rye to save the wheat
and anthracite as big as Sunday
dinner's cut of meat.
"The war to end all wars was just
another goddam lie"
said Billy Twice, when looking up,
he saw the last of life.
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