A poem by Edward Dyson

Dear Ned, I now take up my pen to write you these few lines,
And hopin' how they find you fit. Gorbli', it seems an age
Since Jumbo ducked the Port, 'n' drilled 'n' polished to the nines,
He walked his pork on Collins like a hero off the stage,
Then hiked a rifle 'cross the sea this bleedin' war to wage.

The things what's 'appened lately calls to Jumbo's mind that day
Our push took on the Peewee pack, 'n' belted out their lard,
With twenty cops to top it off. But now I'm stowed away,
A bullet in me gizzard where I took it good and hard,
A-dealin'-stoush 'n' mullock to the Prussian flamin' Guard.

At Bullcoor mortal charnce had dumped a mutton-truck of us
From good ole Port ker-flummox where we didn't orter be,
All in a 'elpless hole-the Pug, Bill Carkeek, Son, 'n' Gus,
Don, Steve, 'n' Jack, 'n' seven more, 'n', as it 'appens, me,
With nothin' in since breakfast, 'n' a week to go for tea.

Worked loose from Caddy's bunch, we went it gay until we found
We'd took to 'arf the ragin' German Hempire on our own.
Then down we went so 'umble, with our noses in the ground,
Takin' cover in the rubble. If a German head was shown
It was fare-the-well to Herman with a bullet through the bone.

We slogged the cows remorseless, 'n' they laid for us a treat.
We held that stinkin' cellar, though, 'n' when the day was done
Son pussied on his bingie where a Maxie trim 'n' neat
Had spit out loaded lightnin', and he slugged a tubby Hun,
Then choked a Fritzie with his dukes, 'n' pinched the sooner's gun!

We rigged her on her knuckle-bones. Cri', how she lapped 'em up!
We hosed 'em out with livin' lead. That was the second day.
Me left eye I'd 'ave give for jest a bubble in a cup,
Three fingers I'd 'ave parted for a bone I've flung away;
But the butcher wasn't callin', 'n' the fountain didn't play.

T'was rotten mozzle, Neddo. We had blown out ever clip,
'N' 'blooed the hammunition for the little box of tricks.
Each took a batten in his fist. Sez Billy “Let 'er rip!”
But Son he claws his stubble. Sez,he: “Hold a brace of ticks.”
Then “Yow!” he pipes 'n' “Strewth!” he sez, “it's bricks, you blighters, bricks!”

There's more than 'arf a million spilt where somethin' hit a pub;
We creeps among 'n' sorts 'em, stack afore, 'n' stack behind;
The Hun is comin' at us with his napper like a tub,
You couldn't 'ope to miss it, pickled, paralysed, 'n' blind.
Sez Sonny: “Lay 'em open! Give 'em blotches on the rind!”

Then bricks was flyin' in the wind. Mine dinted Otto's chin;
Ole Nosey got his brother, which he never more will roam.
When Ulrich stopped a Port bookay he rolled his alley in.
Their fire was somethin' fierce. Poor Son was blowin' blood 'n' foam,
“Fill up,” he coughs, “'n' plug 'em! S'elp me Gord, we're goin' 'ome!”

With bricks we drove right at 'em 'n' we wanged 'em best we could.
'Twas either bed 'n' breakfast or a scribble and a wreath.
Haynes bust a Prussian's almond, took the bay'net where he stood,
Then heaved his last 'arf-Brunswick, split the demon's grinnin' teeth,
And Son went down in glory, with a German underneath!

We'd started out with gibbers in our clobber and our 'ats.
They gave us floatin' lead enough to stop an army cor.
We yelled like fiends, 'n' countered with a lovely flight of bats,
Then rushed in close formation, heavin' cot- tages, n' tore
Through blinded, bleedin' Bosches, 'n' lor love yeh, it was war!

We came peltin', headfirst, 'elpless, in a drain among a lot
Of dirty, damned old Tommies (Gord! The best that ever blew!)
Eight left of us, all punctured, each man holdin' what he'd got.
Me wild, a rat hole in me lung, but in me mauley, too,
A bull-nosed brick with whiskers where no whiskers ever grew.

There's nothin' doin' now. I wear me blan- kets like a toff.
The way this fat nurse pets me, strewth, it's well to be so sick,
A-dreamin' of our contract 'n' the way we pulled it off.
I reckon Haig is phonin' Hughes: “Hullo, there, Billy. Quick,
A dozen of the pushes and a thousan' tons of brick!”

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