They gave him a diploma
Before he was snatched away,
From friends and home and learning the arts;
From scenes of youthful play.
With heavy heart, he played the part
Of a soldier among men without frill.
He drilled and marched and learned to shoot;
To stab, and maim and kill.
They gave him a week with his family,
Brief days that blurred right past.
His mother had a mother's thoughts
Of a son who grew too fast.
He knew more of death than life
When they hit the shaking shore.
He sprawled just right in a wet foxhole,
But he was terrified to the core.
The sergeant leaped and shook him,
And snarled, "you bastard, fight!"
When the graduate climbed the trench's lip,
His shell was at its height.
The sergeant stretched a rigid hand,
Hearing the mortar's thud;
And he tried to catch the young GI,
Falling dead in the oozing mud.
His mother couldn't read the telagram;
Eighteen years had blurred right past.
His mother had a mother's thoughtss
Of a son who died too fast.