The Greybeards from all round the region
Are quaffing their comradely ales
And happily sit in the Legion
Relaxing and swapping their tales
They try to outdo one another
With tales of the wily Chinese
When somebody tells of a brother
Whose story was stranger than these.
The tale that the Greybeard was telling
Was that, at the sharp end, somehow
The enemy slacked off his shelling
And our soldiers found time for some chow.
So thus, in his usual fashion
(Since leaving the dock in Pusan)
Our hero picked up his C-ration
And glumly extracted a can.
“Beans and Pork” were the words on the label
But each soldier knows that that means
For no-one had ever been able
To find any contents but beans.
As the cold ration can he was grabbing
And listlessly stirring his fork
He found the utensil was stabbing
A chunk of what seemed to be pork.
It was grey, it was soft, it was mushy
It wasn’t exceedingly big
But this portion of protein so slushy
Undoubtedly came from a pig!
His officers sprang up in terror
On seeing the thing that he’d got
Some said it had been packed in error;
Some thought it a Communist plot.
They sent it to General Van Fleet then
And to the poor soldier they said,
“You’ll just have the beans without meat, then –
We’ll give you a medal instead!”
I haven’t been given statistics –
Some say they went out of their minds
In staffs of supply and logistics
While heads rolled in Hormel and Heinz.
I hear somewhere in a museum
Located in upstate New York
If you pay a buck you can see ‘em
The can, and the beans and the pork.
So, soldiers, just be realistic
Because fortune might await you
And if you remain optimistic
You may find some beef – in beef stew!
©Copyright October 10, 2007 by Les Peate
This poem inspired the response, “The Grey Beards” – ©Copyright October 10, 2007 by William H.A. Willbond, MSM, CD