From The Topeka State Journal, February 10, 1915. By Edmund Vance Cooke.
Twenty bad men in the bar one night,
Each one shoving his foot on the rail;
None of them sober and most of them tight,
Every one cussing to kick up a fight,
Each one a devil and swinging his tail;
Most of them dead when the scrap was done—
Nobody knew how the row had begun!
A squally day and a celluloid boat,
Launched on a river of gasoline;
“As freaky a craft as was ever afloat,”
The captain swore in his husky throat,
“With her firebox next to her magazine.”
He lighted his pipe and tossed his match—
Now how could the conflagration catch?
Generals, admirals, emperors, kings,
And babes from the cradle trained to kill;
Davids swinging Goliath slings,
Navies filled with eagle wings,
Nations of armies, life a drill.
Courtiers cunning in wild excuse—
What a surprise when the war broke loose!