General George Patton was not only known for his military strategy, but also for his tendency to write profound poems and essays about warfare. Although Corporal Donald Byers was not of the same military rank, he did share the love of writing. In between jotting notes about his basic training, he wrote a short poem about his love-hate relationship with his superiors.
Ode to a First Sergeant
Would that your voice were soft as rustling grass,
instead of harsh as ground glass.
Would that you’d call me softly each morn,
rather than bellowing like an elephant just born.
Oh, to be smilingly asked to do a chore,
instead of being told with a God Damn roar.
Couldn’t my shoes be shiny and my bunk made right just once,
and couldn’t you think of me as having a better I.Q. than a dunce?
When you speak to me it’s always thus and so, thus and so.
On and on until my ears turn blue.
To you, I’ll send a Valentine and this is what it will say –
Roses are red,
violets are blue,
the Axis is a menace and so are you…