Marshal Neigh, V.C.

A poem by Edward Dyson

He came from tumbled country past the humps of Buffalo
Where the snow sits on the mountain 'n' the Summer aches below.
He'd a silly name like Archie. Squattin' sullen on the ship,
He knew nex' to holy nothin' through the gor-forsaken trip.

No thoughts he had of women, no refreshin' talk of beer;
If he'd battled, loved, or suffered vital facts did not appear;
But the parsons and the poets couldn't teach him to discourse
When it come to pokin' guyver at a pore, deluded horse.

If nags got sour 'n' kicked agin the rules of things at sea,
Artie argued matters with 'em, 'n' he'd kid 'em up a tree.
“Here's a pony got hystericks. Pipe the word for Privit Rowe,”
The Sargint yapped, 'n' all the ship came cluckin' to the show.

He'd chat him confidential, 'n' he'd pet 'n' paw the moke;
He'd tickle him, 'n' flatter him, 'n' try him with a joke;
'N' presently that neddy sobers up, 'n' sez “Ive course,
Since you puts it that way, cobber, I will be a better horse.”

There was one pertickler whaler, known aboard ez Marshal Neigh,
Whose monkey tricks with Privit Rowe was better than a play.
He'd done stunts in someone's circus, 'n' he loved a merry bout,
Whirlin' in to bust his boiler, or to kick the bottom out.

Rowe he sez: “Well, there's an idjit! Oh, yes, let her whiz, you beauty!
Where's yer 'orse sense, little feller? Where's yer bloomin' sense iv duty?
Well, you orter serve yer country!” Then there'd come a painful hush,
'N' that nag would drop his head-piece, 'n', so 'elp me cat, he'd blush.

We was heaped ashore be Suez, rifle, horse, 'n' man, 'n' tent,
Where the land is sand, the water, 'n' the gory firmament.
We had intervals iv longin', we had sweaty spells of work
In the ash-pit iv Gehenner, dumbly waitin' fer the Turk.

We goes driftin' on the desert, nothin' doin', nothin' said,
Till we get to think we're nowhere, 'n' arf fancy we are dead,
'N' the only 'uman interest on the red horizon's brim
Is Marshal Neigh's queer faney fer the lad that straddles him.

Plain-livin's nearly, bored us stiff. The Major calls on Rowe
To devise an entertainment. What his charger doesn't know
Isn't in the regulations. Him 'n' Rowe is brothers met,
'N' that horse's sense iv humor is the oddest fancy yet.

But the Turk arrives one mornin' on the outer edge iv space.
From back iv things his guns is floppin' kegs about the place,
'N' Privit Artie Rowe along with others iv the force
Goes pig-rootin' inter battle, holdin' converse with his horse.

Little Abdul's quite a fighter, 'n' he mixes it with skill;
But the Anzacs have him snouted,, 'n', oh, ma, he's feelin' ill.
They wake the all-fired desert, 'n' the land for ever dead
Is alive 'n' fairly creepin', and the skies are droppin' lead.

When they've got the Ot'man goin', little gaudy hunts begin.
It fer us to chiv His Trousers. 'n' to round the stragglers in.
Cuttin' closest to the raw, 'n' swearin' lovin' all the way,
Is Artie from Molinga on his neddy, Marshal Neigh.

We're pursuin' sundry camels turkey-trottin' anyhow
With the carriage iv an emu 'n' the action iv a cow,
When a sand dune busts, 'n' belches arf a million iv the foe.
They uncork a blanky batt'ry, 'n' it's, Allah, let her go!

We're not stayin' dinner, thank you. Lie along yer horse 'n' yell,
While the bullets pip yer britches 'n' you sniff the flue of Hell.
Here it is that Artie takes it good 'n' solid in the crust,
He dives from out the saddle, 'n' is swallered in the dust.

I got through 'n' saw them pointin' where the Marshal faced the band.
He was goin' where we came from, sniffin' bodies in the sand.
Till he found Rowe snugglin' under, took him where his pants was slack,
'N' be all the Asiatic gods, he brought his soldier back!

With a bullet in his buttock, 'n' a drill hole in his ear,
He dumped Artie down among us. Square 'n' all, how did we cheer!
There's no medals struck fer neddies, but we rule there orter be,
'N' the pride iv all the Light Horse is old Marshal Neigh, V.C.

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