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American Boys, Hello!

Ella Wheeler Wilcox on

Published in Poem Of The Day

Oh! we love all the French, and we speak in French
As along through France we go.
But the moments to us that are keen and sweet
Are the ones when our khaki boys we meet,
Stalwart and handsome and trim and neat;
And we call to them-'Boys, hello!'
'Hello, American boys,
Luck to you, and life's best joys!
American boys, hello!'

We couldn't do that if we were at home-
It never would do, you know!
For there you must wait till you're told who's who,
And to meet in the way that nice folks do.
Though you knew his name, and your name he knew-
You never would say 'Hello, hello, American boy!'
But here it's just a joy,
As we pass along in the stranger throng,
To call out, 'Boys, hello!'

For each is a brother away from home;
And this we are sure is so,
There's a lonesome spot in his heart somewhere,
And we want him to feel there are friends
right there

In this foreign land, and so we dare
To call out 'Boys, hello!'
'Hello, American boys,
Luck to you, and life's best joys!
American boys, hello!'

About This Poem
Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote "American Boys, Hello!" while visiting France during the latter stages of World War I as entertainment for the American soldiers stationed there.

About Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Ella Wheeler Wilcox was born in Johnstown, Wis., in 1850. She wrote numerous collections of poetry, including "Poems of Reflection" (1905). She died in Connecticut in 1919.

*** The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.

This poem is in the public domain. Distributed by King Features Syndicate

 

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