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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.

American Boys, Hello!

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!’
 

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox was born on November 5, 1850, in Johnstown Center, Wisconsin. She was a popular writer characterized mainly by her upbeat and optimistic poetry, though she was also an activist. Her poetry collections include Poems of Passion (W. B. Conkey Company, 1883) and Poems of Peace (Gay & Bird, 1906). She died in Connecticut on October 30, 1919.

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So full of myseries! it, too, can keep
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Free, as the boundless main. Now it may be
Calm like the brow of some sweet child asleep;
Again its seething billows surge and leap
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Through all the weary, hot midsummer time,
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Thinking the cooling winds would bring relief.
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When all my life was full of melody.
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Now, dear, it isn’t the bold things,
Great deeds of valour and might,
That count the most in the summing up of life at the end of the day.
But it is the doing of old things,
Small acts that are just and right;
And doing them over and over again, no matter what others say;