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The Ultimate Consumer

From the Evening Public Ledger, July 27, 1915.

Light, in ballast, a thousand ships
    Come streaming through our harbor gate;
Then, laden down at busy slips,
    Go out again with stores of freight
    Bound over sea to the buyer great,
Who always calls for more and more,
    Whose greed not all the world may sate,
The ultimate consumer—War.

Ships that come from the Seven Seas,
    Some that move with stately gait;
Some that loiter in any breeze,
    Lured by Wartime’s double rate.
    Mocking all at the hand of fate,
Seeking share in the wondrous store,
    They come to serve, let who berate,
The ultimate consumer—War.

Battered hulks once forced aside
    By vessels of a later date;
Proud and scornful of wind and tide
    And foes that under the ocean wait,
    Again they pass, but sans the state
That marked their going in days of yore;
    Servants now of the king of hate,
The ultimate consumer—War.

Captain, the risk of the trip is great
    And none may tell when a gun will roar;
But you are serving, despite the strait
    The ultimate consumer—War.

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