Group Writing: Myron Ferch’s Poems


Myron J. Ferch is not a household name, perhaps even among the Ferches. But Myron Ferch served as a private from 1941-1945 in World War II, notably in Papua New Guinea. He wrote a slim book of poems, Wartime and Other Poems. The cover shows him and his dog in front of a sheep wagon (Myron was from McCone County in Montana). His niece, Sally, owned a copy, signed by the author and autographed, “To a very nice niece. I hope your trail is a pleasant one.” Sally gave the booklet to her daughter, who gave it to me.

Myron set his down his war experiences in verse. I’ve chosen this one to share, entitled “The Letter from Mother”:

Every evening, just at mess time,

When the western sun is low,

The soldiers get excited

When they hear the whistle blow.

They know that it is mail-call,

For the top-kick’s tent they sail

And they gather in a circle

When he’s handing out the mail.

There’s a couple more from Betty,

Whom I chance to meet one day,

And she writes me nice long letters, 

She’s a flier now, she says.

There’s another one from sister,

Holy Smoke! That makes me four!

But that’s only just a starter,

Me–I’d like a dozen more.

There should be one from Helen,

Used to get one every day,

She said to me, “If you get killed,

Please tell me right away.”

Ah, there’s one that I’ve been waiting for,

I know the writing well,

And that’s the one I open first

To see what it will tell.

“I and Pa are feeling fine,

We’re hoping you’re o.k.”,

But I get a world of meaning

From the words they never say.

Doggerel can be touching, and though rough-hewn, noble.

Published in Group Writing
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  1. Arahant Member

    James Hageman:

    But I get a world of meaning
    From the words they never say.


    • #1
  2. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell

    Brilliant. It brings back lots of memories. Thanks for posting it.

    • #2
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    From the wonderful nonsense of Ogden Nash, to Khmer poetry, to a Swede reciting his poem, to a soldier poet, it has been quite a good month. 

    This post is part of our July Group Writing theme: “The Doggerel Days of Summer.” Stop by today and sign up for our August theme: “Reeling in the Summer.” 

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #3
  4. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret

    Did Ferch make it through the war? (Possibly, as I imagine the book of poetry could not have been edited and bound  while in service.)

    • #4
  5. James Hageman Moderator
    James Hageman

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    Did Ferch make it through the war? (Possibly, as I imagine the book of poetry could not have been edited and bound while in service.)

    Ferch returned home and published the war poems, and other poems, later.

    • #5