Bradley T. Van Deusen

Bradley T. Van Deusen

OutcastsThe Convent of the Guns
Zero HourI May Deceive a Woman But...
Tuan JimmyTo A Girl
Painted LadyIncident
Song to be Sung on Third ReliefManeuvers
SettledFor Jean
And There Came a DancerSaga of Dreams
A Song in the CitiesIncident
Old Soldiers' DrumsDrifting
To M.

All of Father's Poetry
Father's Book - Old Soldiers' Drums
As Seen By a Campus Journalist


Outcast men of the world are we,
Sunk in the depths of iniquity
Detested by all and loved by none.
A blot on the face of the kindly sun.
Men of training and breeding and birth
Who knew full well what the game was worth
Who played their hands -- and lost --
-- and then
Lost themselves from the world of men.

We hid ourselves in the Island world
Where the flashing coils of the "Snake" are curled
We sought the depths to hide our shame.
The "thing" we had made of an honored name.
We swam the Bay in the early dawn
But the Shark came not, and we lived on.
We sought the end in the bolo's steel
But hearts wounds live, while flesh wounds heal.

We went unarmed to the Moro's "jil"
But they called us "mad" and they would not kill.
And the Padre came with his tale of Grace
But we knew better, and laughed in his face.

We twined our hearts in a woman's hair
Then tried to forget in the din and glare
Of a "tienda down on the opal bay
Where many men come and some men stay.

We lost ourselves in the Army then,
Our identity merely "Enlisted Men"
But in the dusk, when the shadows start to crawl
In their weird, wild dance on the barracks wall
A ghastly pageant that comes to stir
Our memory again to what we were
And we bow our heads and stifle a cry
For we don't know how and we'll never know why.

El Tigre.

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The Convent of the Guns

Our clean curved mouths are cold and dead.
Our polished skin is marred.
Our tawny thighs are thick with dirt,
Dinted, cut, and scarred;
Our day is done! But once!
Our open mouths blazed Deaths' caress
Our tongues with steel were tipped!
Ah! Bitter spinsters were we then
As we slashed and cut and ripped;
Our youth was filled with lovers
All laughing, joyous boys
Who stroked our slim, proud beauty
Their latest, deadly toys.
Then clean and fresh and polished
We went forth with the Dead
The living, lovely happy lads
Whose last touch, dyed us red.
But supplanted like all harlots
By the newer fresher one
We turned to rest and quiet
As our kind have always done,
With a printed tag about our throats
To inform our lovers' sons
We're an Ordanance Exhibition
The Convent of the Guns! El Tigre.

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Zero Hour

Grey stars agleam in a blank, dead sky
Grey guns agrowl below.
Grey clad men out beyond the wire.
Grey fields in the star-shells glow.

The barrage is a pounding symphony
That ears attuned cannot hear.
There's something flicking the parapet
There's something above you fear!

Not fear of "stopping one" above,
Or fear for the man beside.
There's something flicking the parapet
There's a fear that you cannot hide.

"Stand By!" The rifle is cool in your hand
And your heart pounds hard and quick.
There's something flicking the parapet
Number Three of the squad is sick.

The rifle hurts the palm of your hand
Like gripping a stiff wire brush
There's something flicking the parapet
"Walk slow through the wire, then rush!"

The whistle! The ladders! Up over the edge!
And your legs seem stiff and sore.
There's something flicking the parapet
Number Three is sick no more!

Grey stars agleam in a blank dead sky
Grey guns agrowl below.
Grey faces turned to the glowing stars
Where men lie dead in a row.

El Tigre.

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I May Deceive a Woman But Disappoint Her - Never!

A war-worn warrior
And a beautiful girl
Met in the darkness
Where black banners furl.

She was lovely
Her heart was warm.
He sought quiet
Out of the storm.

He said, "Love
Your heart's like jade
The green of quiet
Of a Virgin maid...

My hands are spatulate
Designed to caress
To mold tall columns
White limbs to press..."

She said, "Lover
I know you of old
In my dreams you're younger.
Not bitter or old...

My love's a warrior
Straight limbed and tall
With the pride of a peacock
On a marble wall....

You're bent and bitter.
Sword-scarred and worn
My love's a boy
White limbs untorn.

What would you have of me
Ghost of my love...
Dark bodied jungle beast
Tearing a dove."

"Girl," said the warrior
In ironed bodied might
You've lain beside me
In the star stabbed night

You've known my glories
Laughed at my fears
Why do you turn from me
In blinding tears.

Shall I cast my altar
Into the mere?
You are my Host of Hosts
Why should you fear?

Immaculate you came here
Virgin you go
My love's dreams' love
This you should know.

Your fresh mouth to mine, Love
Your body mine to press;
Close your eyes, so, Love
Dream Loves' caress.

By hands and mouth I build here
A dream to buoy on...
Something to cherish
When you are gone.

I shall know Beauty
Before I come to die
With bleeding, gaping mouth upturned
To a brazen, ghastly sky..."

The Girl said, "Warrior!
You have known Death
Hot, bright moments
And panting breath.

If I trust my visions
To you for a toy
It shall bring you happiness

But what of the boy?

Your ribbons tell of glory
Your eyes tell of pain.
Swordsman I come to you
Leave me without stain!"


What matters future, past
Or Gods above...
Two in the darkness
Have found Love...

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Tuan Jimmy

This is a tale of a lonely man,
Where the jungle grass is tall.
It was told to me on a lonely beach
Where the long blue shadows fall.

I have drifted my way through this island world,
For ten long years, come June
Forgotten my people, my race, my creed
And I think that the end is soon.
You gave me a drink and you're holding my head
And it's all that a friend could do
It's funny -- I don't feel a bit of pain
In the hole where the steel came through
I was young, and there was a girl
Who I loved as you'll never know.
I slipped, how doesn't matter
There was nothing to do but go.
A few years later, just drifting,
I picked up a paper at Prome
And the girl, was the girl from home.
It rather broke my heart, Lad
And the Beach claimed another soul.
Yea - another husk went drifting
Where the long blue breakers roll.
I'm about to go to my God, Chum,
But I've won away from my fears
And my God is a bitter God too
For he's had me in Hell for years!
Don't bother the Gu-Gu that got me
It's the way the game is run,
It's coppered and fixed and loaded
Adios! I'm thankful I'm done

With my bolo I carved him a tombstone
In coral, that the Beach might know
"Here lies Tuan Jimmy of England
He died as brave men go-"

The Stumble Bum

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To A Girl

I once wove a beautiful dream
Of a beautiful girl
That I met when existence was grey
A wonderful dream
Of a wonderful girl
And I knew that I'd nevermore stray.

The sword of the fighter
Is reddened with rust
And the joy of the conflict is stale
The wings of the drifter
Are graying with rust
Forgotten the songs of the trail.

I loved as a man
Who can love only one
And my world was the depth of her eyes
The beauty of earth
Was her hair in the sun
And the sound of her voice was my prize.

I knew it was futile
To love as I did
I suppose I'll love on to the end
I may have been foolish
But she'll never know
And at least I have found me a friend.


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Painted Lady

I sing my song with a painted mouth
And staccato, blazing breath;
The Jezebel of the Armies,
The Painted Lady of Death!

Born in the flow of the molten steel,
Baptised in flaming oil,
Cursed by the world ere I saw the light
And went forth to my toil;
Pride of my many lovers
My deep-voiced, fighting men.
Caressed as my kisses took their toll
From my steel ringed, concrete den:
Faithless and lovely always
Denying my love in his need,
Giving myself to the strongest hand
While my cast off lovers bleed.
My curious task is ended,
And couched on a wooden bed
I lie and gaze on the passing throng
And muse on my lovers - dead.

I sing my song with a painted mouth
And staccato, blazing breath:
The Jezebel of the Armies,
The Painted Lady of Death!

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Hey, Doc'! Pardon, Sir, I meant Major.
They say the Kid was hurt last night.
You know, my Bud', the battler?
Slim, blonde, puts out a fight?
I heard the Corpsmen talkin'
They said the Kid was bad.
Jesus, Sir! You'd tell a fella -
The Kid's all I ever had!
He's dead! Never knew what hit him?
A wreck? Why, Sir, the Major's wrong!
The Kid came in last evenin'
An' Gawd knows that ain't long!
An' just because my leg is broke
He wuz kiddin' me to death ...
To ... death ... my budedy's dead then ...
It kinda takes my breath.
Where is he, Doc'? The Post Morgue?
That little house of stone?
Get me outa here, Sir, I'm goin'
The Kid's in there alone!
Sure I know my leg is busted
But, Hell, Man, I can crawl!
I don't want nobody with me
I can guide along the wall!

Take that 'hypo' outa here, Sergeant!
Why ... Major ... that ain't fair ...
I ran with the Kid a week ago.
Had him shapin' pretty fair.
This goddam morphine gets me ...
Kid! Lay off that dame in red!
You can't mix dames and battlin'
An' ya can't win fights in bed!
Roll in-under that left a' his
Then pivot up an' hook!
Don't let'm box but fight him!
This guy fights by the book!

I'm gettin' punch drunk - damn this morphine -
It starts buzzin' in my head!
Hey, Kid! Kid! Why sparrin' pardner,
They told me you was dead!

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Song to be Sung on Third Relief

You are the night winds
Singing of tarnished beauty.
You are the lure and lie
Of all I have held most dear.
You are agonies suffered alone in the squadroom
You are a girl and very near.

You are flat jades
Whipped to a deep green frenzy.
You are wrought shields
Polished to silver bright.
You are an ivory, ancient torture
Suffered throughout the night.

You are the lights
Of the Guardroom glowing.
You are the moon
On my bayonet's blade.
You are duty and more than duty
You are a woman and unafraid.

You are a bugle
Sobbing across the parade ground,
Untouchable, lovely
And remembered long.
You are a splendor and I am a soldier
This is a soldier's song.

"M" Company's stables ...
There's a padlock missing ..."
"Hello, Kid." "Post!"
And the Guard is through.
The dawn in the East is a gay, gold glory
An altar grown great for you.

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A Song in the Cities

The Little Drums are banging
Mad war songs of the trails.
My nostrils sting with memories
Of thunderous, crashing gales.
My eyes are sick with staring
At these monoliths of Man
And sick of vain illusion,
I shall go where I can
Find Gods to fit my temples,
Find strength to meet my need,
Find scars to hold my memories.
Find men who know my creed.
Sick of the waste of mankind
In these roaring walls of stone.
(These lustful sons of boredom
Afraid to be alone).
I shall make my pack and wander
To the Beach from where I came
And away from all this tinseled filth
I shall revel in my shame!

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I have found a niche for a drifter
In a peaceful little town.
The streets are quiet and the lamps are low
And I think I've settled down.
There's a hush in the early evening
And the skies are grey and still.
The people soft and their words are kind
And a man may dream his fill.
Yet a man grows soft in dreaming
And the winter air is chill
And I miss the friends that I used to know
And I miss the golden thrill
Of gallant deeds in action
Of hunger and color and death
And the little jokes in the jungle grass
Hissed out with labored breath.
But my friends have gone from the beaches
And the war gongs clash no more.
The tribes have ceased their chanting
And the blood's washed from the shore.
I'll call an end to my drifting
At least, this is something new,
I'll forget the talk and the song we sang
I'll stay and see it through.

TenEyck Van Deusen

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For Jean

Gray ash were my dreams
And the world dull gray
And wan was my heart
Though I flaunted a gay
Smile to the world--
   Cloak to my agony.

Weary were the feet
That had drifted so far
And black were the nights
With never a star
To give to my tired eyes
   A guide to Eternity.

Then You! With your laughing eyes
You! With the drowsy hair
Rent through the veil of gray
Tore it with words so fair
And gave from your joyous heart
   Hope to the wanderer
         Hope to the wanderer.

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The Meddler

"You will forgive me Sweetheart?
I love you...
You are my intensified dream of ages
Quiet and calm browed...

You will forgive me?
The sadness that I cause,
The aching pain of unfulfilled desire,
The happiness that may not be ours.
The long nights of desolation.
The graying days of loneliness...
You will forgive them?

A fighter I!
Uncouth and huge in the softness of your life
Out of place...
My mind forever perplexed with vague visions
Of a flaunting, flaming death
In some far colorful land.
You were content before I came
Content with your life
And your flat voiced, quietly egotistical lover.
You would have gone to him quietly
No desire or passion -- only -- quietly satisfied
You would have had an apartment
Like thousands of other fools.
You would have borne quiet children
And after a fashion ... you would have been content.
Then I came ... a Chimera of pain
Deep in my eyes
The smile of a child
And the mouth of a lover.
Unkempt, huge and rather whistful --
Strange tales and bright ribbons
Bringing romance into your drab life.
I would not shatter the soft platitude of your life
By my passionate desire
yet I love you!
You will forgive me?

The Saturnine Seaman.

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(Corregidor, P. I. - 1924)

The Stygian dark is stabbed with swords
Of silver flaming light.
The grey guns couched, arise to speak,
Shatt'ring the silent night.
With blood red tongues of living flame
They searched the rippling sea
Where lifting, hissing, passed the ships -
The ships we would not see.
The servants of the great grey guns
In sleepless patience wait
Until the warders of the lights
Align their beams full straight
On grey ghosts coursing through the waves
To force the seaward gate.

TenEyck Van Deusen.

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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.

TenEyck Van Deusen.

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And There Came a Dancer

The gaunt hall was filled with men.

Bright badges of servitude
Glittered on khaki shoulders
As fighting men,
Their dull thoughts groping for utterance
Cursed conversationally
And shifted in their seats.
The lights died
And there was silence.
A whirling lance of golden notes
Stabbed through the air.
The dull curtains swept apart.
The stage glowed llike a soft gold cavern.
And there came a dancer!

Rose pink her dress
Standing stiffly from the ivory white
Of her soft body.
Her hair a tight, tortured mass of molded jet
With little, shining gleams of an old beauty
Bringing a new light to tired eyes.
Like a fresh rose petal
Tossed fluttering down a filthy alley
She danced,
Her incredibly dainty feet
Tapping the beat on men's hearts
And on pine boards.
Another whirl of glorious sound
And she was gone.

In the cast monotony of the barracks
Laid loosely in the rigid conformity of their beds
And dreamed.
Pipe bowls blowed a dancer's rose pink
In the dark.

TenEyck Van Deusen.

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Saga of Dreams

There came a drifter whose head was high
Yet whose hidden heart was a stone.
And ever and ever he sang his song
And, Oh, but the song was lone!
Ha! The Devil takes care of his own!"
He sang,
"And will while the Road holds clear
So raise your head though your heart is dead,
Carry On! And show no fear!"

The drifter stopped for a quiet while
In the peace of a little town.
He thought to rest from his memories
And, he hoped to settle down.
He sought surcease from the tilted sea
And rest from the stark, bleak hill
He tried to forget but he couldn't, yet
For his visions came to chill.

The drifter laughed as the drifters do
When the deeper heart throb came,
Saying, "It's well to laugh when the soul is sick
To weep were a strong man's shame!"
Then a sweet dream came to his tired, tired eyes
And a soft mouth brushed a kiss!
He shouted strong, "My song was wrong!
I ha' found Semiramis!"

A new light came to the drifter's eyes
And a new warmth came in his smile -
(Ah - it's good to laugh when the world is sweet
It lasts so short awhile.)
The drifter roared to the little Gods
"By Your Beards! I ha' searched for this!"
But the Gods knew best and they had their jest
And he lost Semiramis!

There went a drifter whose head was high
Yet whose hidden heart was a stone.
And ever and ever he sang his song
And, Oh, but this song was lone
Ha! The Devil takes care of his own,"
He sang,
"And will while the Road holds clear
So raise your head though your heart is dead,
Carry On! And show no fear!"

TenEyck Van Deusen.

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Old Soldiers' Drums

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 to the 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!

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A white ship, a blue sky,
A thousand miles of sea,
The gleam of sail against the sun,
And naught to worry me -

A glimpse of green at sunrise,
The bite of salty spray,
The Gods be praised I have the urge,
To take the open way.

A glimpse of green at sunrise,
Another land to know,
New friends, new songs, new tales to tell,
No wonder that I go -

The joy of life is living,
How can one live at home,
When all the world is just ahead,
A joyous world to roam - So sing your songs of fireside bliss,
In smug sincerity -
But I! I'll take the Open Road,
The whole world's made for me!

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To 'M'

Remember when I first met you? 
And you spoke.... 
Shatt'ring the deadened silence 
With the living golden flame 
Of soft voiced words 
Do you remember? 
Or was I merely am amusement... 
        for a moment? 
Remember that moonlit sidewalk 
Where you smiled 
Wherein I passed rigid and unafraid 
And you called "Van!" 
And I trembled where I stood, 
Aye! Trembled like a child 
The soldier, the drifter, 
Trembled at a word! 
And then....was it later 
'Neath the cathedral sweep of Ilini hall 
You told me to go.... 

Was it a pastime...or do you remember? 
I....I...I hope that you remember 
It is all that I have! 

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Biographies Mother His Father
Favorite Poems Courting Mother His Mother
Photographs Letters to Mother His Grandfather

NJ Governor
Lewis Morris


Henry Livingston
Night Before Xmas
Henry Livingston


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