Bradley T. Van Deusen

Bradley T. Van Deusen

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Song to be Sung on Third Relief
Old Soldiers' Drums, 1933, pp.20-21
By TenEyck Van Dusen [Deusen]

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.

         TenEyck Van Deusen

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Historical Notes

Bradley and Jean met at the University of Chicago competing over a typewriter needed for their journalism projects. It was in an old wooden temporary building built during the second world war, a place where I later took humanities classes. So much for temporary.

Bradley left a note for her to pick up, which she wouldn't do until he threatened to publish it his poetry column.

Ya see--J. A. B. [Jean Audrey Butridge] has a communication here at the office from a blighter who seems jolly well sunk. Tyke it off me hands or By Allah! We'll incorporate it into the Whistle!
His next poem was a love poem, so we can assume Jean got the note.

Their time together was short, but temptestuous. Jean had other potential love interests, but Bradley was a tempest compared to a mild breese and, though they seemed to break apart as often as they stayed together, their physical separation after he left for New York and she went to Texas to finish her degree, left them both unhappy and Jean eventually gave in to temptation and secretly married Bradley while on a trip to New York to attend the wedding of a college friend.

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