‘Hello, Soldier!’

Weepin’ Willie

Edward Dyson

WHEN our trooper hit wide water every heart was yearin’ back
To the little ’ouse at Coogee or a hut at Barrenjack.
She was ’ookin’ up to spike the stars, or rootin’ in the wave,
An’ me liver turned a hand spring with each buck the beggar gave.
Then we pulls a sick ’n’ silly smile ’n’ tips a saucy lid,
Crackin’ hardy. Willie didn’t. Willie snivelled like a kid.

At Gallip’ the steamer dumped us, ’n’ we got right down to work,
Whoopin’ up the hill splendacious, playin’ tiggie with the Turk.
When the stinkin’ Abdul hit us we curled down upon a stone,
’N’ we yelled for greater glory, crackin’ ’ardy on our own.
Not so Willie. He was cursin’, cold ez death ’n’ grey ez steel,
’N’ the smallest thing that busted made the little blighter squeal.

In the bitter day’s that follered, spillin’ life beside the sea,
We would fake a spry expression for the things that had to be,
Always dressin’ up the winder, crackin’ ’ardy though we felt
Fearful creepy in the whiskers, very cold beneath the belt.
But his jills would sniff ’n’ shiver in the mother of a fright,
’N’ go blubberin’ ’n’ quakin’ out to waller in the fight.

In the West we liked the weather, ’n’ we fattened in the mud,
Crackin’ ’ardy, stewed together, rats an’ slurry men ’n’ blood.
Weepin’ Willie wouldn’t have it these was pleasin’ things abed,
’N’ he shuddered in his shimmy if they passed him with the dead.
When he cried about his mother, in a gentle voice he’d tell
Them as dumb-well didn’t like it they could go to sudden ’ell.

There was nothin’ sweet for Willie in a rough-up in the wet;
But if all things scared him purple, not a thing had stopped him yet.
If some chaps was wanted urgent special dirty work to do
Willie went in with a shudder, but he alwiz saw it through.
Oh, a busy little body was our Willie in a crush!
Then he’d cry out in the night about the faces in the slush.

Well they pinked him one fine mornin’ with a thumpin’ ’unk iv shell;
Put it in ’n’ all across him. What he was you couldn’t tell.
I saw him stitched ’n’ mended where he whimpered in his bed,
’N’ he’d on’y lived because he was afraid to die, he said.
Sez he “Struth, they’re out there fightin’, trimmin’ Boshes good ’n’ smart,
While I’m bedded here ’n’ ’elpless. It fair breaks a feller’s ’eart.”

But he came again last Tuesday ’n’ we go it in a breath—
“London’s big ’n’ black ’n’ noisy. It would scare a bloke to death.”
He’s away now in the trenches, white ’n’ nervous, but, you bet,
Playin’ lovely ’ands of poker with his busy bay-o-net,
’Fraid of givin’ ’n’ of takin’, ’fraid of gases, ’fraid of guns—
But a champion lightweight terror to the gorforsaken ’Uns!

‘Hello, Soldier!’ - Contents

Back    |    Words Home    |    Edward Dyson Home    |    Site Info.    |    Feedback