‘Hello, Soldier!’

The Single-Handed Team

Edward Dyson

WE’RE more than partners, Ned ’n’ me,
    Two sections permanently righted.
Yiv seen us on the mooch, maybe,
    Like remnants lovin’ly united.
Ned’s only got one stump, the left;
    By ’appy chance I’ve got its brother,
Of his two dukes he’s been bereft;
My left was mauled, ’n’ had to go,
It fortunitly ’appens though,
    I kept the other.

Ned lost one ear, the left, ’n’ struth,
    He dropped the correspondin’ weeper.
A Hun he crooled me lovely youth
    By bombin’ out me right ’and peeper.
He done a guy too with me ear,
The right, ’n’ now I dunno whether
’Twas Fate’s intention, butt it’s clear
When trimmed each as the other’s mate
’Twas up to us two, soon or late,
    To get together.

’Board ship there’s me like arf a peach,
    ’N’ Ned’s the other arf, but soon it
Strikes’ Bill Carkeek that side by each
    We makes a satisfact’rv unit.
A ’andy cobber on the ship
    Fakes up for us a set of clutches
That damps us firmly hip to hip.
In seven minutes we can peg
The mile out on a timber leg
    ’N’ two steel crutches.

We now go halves, like Si’mese twins,
    ’N’ as a team I hold we’re bosker—
The blighter on the street that grins
    Has got to deal with Edwin-Oscar.
At balls we two-step, waltz, ’n’ swing,
    ’N’ proppin’ walls no one has seen us.
When at the bar I never ring
The double on ole Ned. For both
One hand must serve, ’n’, on me oath,
    It’s fair between us.

We jolt one knife ’n’ fork, ’n’ find
    One horse enough for both to ride on,
And neither feller rides behind.
    Some sez we put a pile of side on.
Well, where’s the single-handed brace
    Will take us on? We’ll put the peg in,
Train fine, ’n’ jump, or box, or race,
Or wrestle them; ’n’ more than that
To clinch a match, so ’elp me cat,
    We’ll throw a leg in!

He’s five feet eight, I’m little less;
    He’s Roman, I’m a sort of Proddy;
But no sectarian bitterness
    Will disunite this sec’lar body—
We’re hitched for good, we’re two in one.
    Our taste’s the same, from togs to tipple.
But, straight, it makes me sad, ole son,
To think if he should croak or me,
The pore bloke what is left might be
    A bloomin’ cripple.

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