The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

Rain On Your Old Tin Hat

Written at the battle front in France and sent to his mother, Mrs. W. E. Damon. Lieutenant Wickersham was killed in action September 14, 1918.

THE mist hangs low and quiet on a ragged line of hills,

There's a whispering of wind across the flat;

You'd be feeling kind of lonesome if it wasn't for one thing--

The patter of the raindrops on your old tin hat.

An' you just can't help a-figuring--sitting here alone--

About this war and hero stuff and that,

And you wonder if they haven't sort of got things twisted up,

While the rain keeps up its patter on your old tin hat.

When you step off with the outfit to do your little bit,

You're simply doing what you're s'posed to do--

And you don't take time to figure what you gain or what you lose,

It's the spirit of the game that brings you through.

But back at home she's waiting, writing cheerful little notes,

And every night she offers up a prayer

And just keeps on a-hoping that her soldier boy is safe--

The mother of the boy who's over there.

And, fellows, she's the hero of this great big ugly war,

And her prayer is on that wind across the flat;

And don't you reckon maybe it's her tears, and not the rain,

That's keeping up the patter on your old tin hat?

Notes

Written at the battle front in France and sent to his mother, Mrs. W. E. Damon. Lieutenant Wickersham was killed in action September 14, 1918.