Nurse Ratchet’s Mistake

by Gregory J. Topliff
(published in Veterans’ Voices Spring 2003 issue)

Come my comrades and you will hear
about an infamous nurse that all did fear.

She entered the ward all dressed in white,
screaming, “Attention! Attention! Attention!” with all
of her might.

“Get out of those beds
you sleepy heads!
I’m here to bring you a new respect,
for God and country, you bunch of rejects!

“Get up! Get up! you lazy bums,
you service wrecks, you low-class scum!”

As I looked to my left and back to my right,
all stood at attention shaking with fright.
They stood there in fear, my comrades in arms,
as the witch dressed in white bellowed more of her charms.

“You’re in my service now,” she said,
“So clean up those floors and wash down the head.
Get out your brooms, your dust rags and soap.
Get to work on it now or I’ll hang all you mopes.”

And out of the corner a soft voice did shout,
“But ma’am, we’re all wounded; we have no such gear!”

“What did you say?” as she responded in fear.
“This is Ward Eight, is it not my dear?”
“No ma’am,” came the answer from all in reply.
“We are here from the war; this is Ward Number Five.”

“Oh no!” she exclaimed, “I’ve made a mistake.
I was told that this was Ward Number Eight.
Those men are in training to be young Marines.
They had only cuts and scrapes to be seen.”

A black tear came running down from her face,
as she hung her head in total disgrace,
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! To all you poor dears.
I’ve made a mistake; please calm all your fears.”

As she walked down the hall we could hear her say,
“Oh, Lord, forgive my stupidity, forgive my mistake,
I’m off to get those slobs in Ward Eight.”

VAMC—Augusta, GA