Bradley T. Van Deusen

Bradley T. Van Deusen

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Fragment, Taps
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Page 16


I'm just too old for drilling
I can't hike anymore;
So I'm bound for the soldiers' graveyard
Behind an office door.
They sing - "Old soldiers never die."
We don't; we live on crumbs -
The shrilling, splendid bugles
An' the thunder of the drums!

I won't do Guard in a snowstorm
An' I won't hafta go an' fire;
It's just messin' around an office
An' waiting to retire.
"Approved per First Indorsement ..."
An' through the window comes
The music of a Guardmount
An' the cadenced, throbbin' drums!

Twenty-three and a butt in the Doughboys;
Why, I've hiked a million miles!
But they said my age couldn't stand it
An' they detailed me to the files!
This work is nice for some men
Who can take it as it comes.
But you know their hearts ain't achin'
For the pullin', poundin' drums!

D.S. 1/4C. an' a non-combatant!
When there's guys tha'd give their life
To piddle around an office
An' go home at night tot he wife.
But I'll get back to formation;
There's a day that always comes:
An' I'll ride on a painted cassion
With the muffled, sobbin' drums!

Page 16


There is a girl
Imperially slim and beautiful.
With eyes like shadowed jade
With mouth mobile and cool.
Her throat a carven column
Rising from the blue of her dress
Or was it blue?
I cannot remember
I can only dream of her utter loveliness.

Page 16


In a quiet hospital ward an old soldier is dying.
A young hospital orderly sits by his side. As the
dying man gasps a few words the notes of Taps float
in the open window.

"Fades the light ... and afar ... goeth day, cometh night ..."

"Yes, it's almost finished ... my hitch is done
I've done my duty ... I've known some friends.
It was well worthwhile ... I've no regrets.
I hate to leave the Army but my discharges comes
'From Higher Authority' than my own C. O.
Seven hash marks. Son: will you show as much?
And all my characters were 'Excellent'!

"And a star ... guideth all ..."

"I had my star, too, not in cash
But the flaunting of a bit of color at sunset
I ain't talked about it much, a man don't talk
About the things he feels. I've loved it though ...

"Leadeth all ... to ... their ... rest."

"Adios, Kid! I'm done ... one thing though ...
Tell that recruit in my squadroom to strai ...

The bugler lights a cigarette and throws away the match.

Historical Notes

'Fragment' was published as "Remembering" in the Dec 28, 1928 issue of the 1928 University of Chicago Maroon

Besides the poems about Jean within this book,

Song to be Sung on Third Relief

Bradley also wrote the following poems while courting her:

For Jean         Nov 16, 1928
To a Bashful Young Lady                 Nov 16, 1928
I May Deceive a Woman                 Nov 23, 1928
She wuzza mos' gorgeous lady                 Nov 23, 1928
The Meddler                 Jan    8, 1929
To "M"                 Feb 15, 1929
Suskind                 Mar   1, 1929
Bradley and Jean eloped Aug 27, 1934. It wasn't until Christmas of that year that she told her family she was married, and went to live with Bradley in NYC.

Jean left Bradley in 1944, and he wrote many letters pleading unsuccessfully with her to come back.

The letter of Aug 2, 1952 also gives Bradley's thoughts on his own mortality.

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