When Tommy Came Marching Home

A poem by Edward Dyson

Devine came back the other day.
We'd planned a great home-comin'.
No long trombone we had to play,
No fine, heroic drummin'.
With two sticks and a milk-can Borne
Put up a martial clatter,
While Carter blew a bullock-horn
Says Tom Devine, with healthy scorn;
“Gorstruth! what is the matter?”

We set three colored petticoats
From Baker's chimneys blowin'
('Tis not the bravest flag that floats,
Yet 'twas the finest goin');
We cheered our hero all we knew,
No song of praise neglectin',
To show our pride as he limped through
He merely spat and snorted, “Who
“The deuce are yous expectin'?”

They lured him to my shop somehow,
And sued for news of battle.
Says Tom: “Who rides the mail track now?
Who herdin' Stringer's cattle?”
A dint the Turk put in his head.
He covers with a ringlet.
He'd won a medal, so we read.
“I might 'ave 'ad it pinched,” he said-
“I've sewn it in my singlet!”

Says Cole “But, 'struth, you must 'ave seen
A fearful swag of scrappin'.”
And Tom agrees “Where men are keen
That's pretty sure to 'appen.
One night a little bloke from Hay
Who plugged a Pentridge warder
Got such a doin' that at day,
Amazed, they ticked him for a stray
Distinguished Service Order.

“Then Sydney Bob was rather vexed
With Green, who'd pinched his braces,
That was 'continued in our next'
In half a score of places.
McCubbin threw his grub at Lea
(You know how sticky stew is);
They fought till neither man could see.
You talk of fight, Gorstrike me, we
Saw stacks of it at Suez!”

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