Hello, Soldier!

A poem by Edward Dyson

Back again 'n' nothin' missin' barrin' arf a hand,
Where an Abdul bit me, chokin' in the Holy Land.
'Struth, they got some dirty fighters in the Moslem pack,
Bull-nosed slugs their sneakin' snipers spatters in yer back
Blows a gapin' sort iv pit in
What a helephant could sit in.
Bounced their bullets, if yeh please,
Like the 'oppers in a cheese,
Off me rubber pelt in droves,
Moppin' up the other coves.
So here's me once more at large in
Bay-street, Port, a bloomin' Sargin'.
“Cri, it jumbo.” “Have a beer.”
“Wot-o, Anzac; you're a dear.”

Back once more on Moley's corner, loafin' like a dook;
Back on Bourke, me livin' image, not a slinkin' spook;
Solid ez the day I started, medals on me chest,
Switchin' with me pert melacca, swankin' with the best
Where the little wimmen's flowin',
With their veils 'n' ribbons blowin'
See their eyes of bloo 'n' brown
Butterflyin' 'bout the town!
Back at 'ome-oh, 'struth, it's good!
Long, cold lagers from the wood,
Ev'ry cobber jumpin' at you,
Strangers duckin' in to bat you
“Good ole Jumbo, how're you?”
“'Ello, soldier, howja do?”

Back at Grillo's where the nigger googs his whitey eyes,
Plucks his black ole greasy banjo while the cod-steak fries;
Fish 'n' chips, a pint iv local, and the tidy girl
Dancin' glad attendance on yeh 'zif yeh was an earl;
Trailin' round the blazin' city,
Feelin' all content 'n' pretty,
Where the smart procession goes,
Prinked 'n' polished to the shows,
One among the happy drive-
'Sworth the world to be alive!
Dames ez smilin' ez a mother,
Ev'ry man ver fav'rit brother:
“'Ello, Jumbo, how is it ?”
“Arr there, soldier! Good 'n' fit?”

Takin' hozone at St. Kilder's good enough for me,
Seein' Summer and the star-blink simmer in the sea;
Cantin' up me bloomin' cady, toyin' with a cig.,
Blowin' out me pout a little, chattin' wide 'n' big
When there's skirt around to skite to.
Say, 'oo has a better right to?
Done me bit 'n' done it well,
Got the tag iv plate to tell;
Square Gallipoli surviver,
With a touch iv Colonel's guyver.
“Sargin' Jumbo, good ole son!”
“Soldier, soldier, you're the one!”

Back again, a wounded hero, moochin' up 'n' down,
Feelin' 'sthough I'd got a fond arf-Nelson on the town;
Never was so gay, so 'elp me, never felt so kind;
Fresh from 'ell a paradise ain't very hard to find.
After filth, 'n' flies, 'n' slaughter
Fat brown babies in the water,
Singin' people on the sand
Makes a boshter Happy Land!
War what toughened hone 'n' hide
Turned a feller soft inside!
Great it is, the 'earty greetin's,
Friendly digs, 'n' cheerful meetin's
“'Ello, Jumbo, howja do?”
“Soldier, soldier, how're you?”

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