THIS WAR’S a waste of slurry, and its atmosphere is mud,
All is bog from here to sunset. Wadin’ through
We’re the victims of a thicker sort of universal flood,
With discomforts that old Noah never knew.
We have dubbed our trench The Cecil. There’s a brass-plate and a dome,
And a quagmire where the doormat used to be,
If you’re calling, second Tuesday is our reg’lar day at home,
So delighted if you’ll toddle in to tea!
There is mud along the corridors enough to bog a cow;
In the air there hangs a musty kind of woof;
There’s a frog-pond in the parlour, and the kitchen is a slough.
She has neither doors nor windows, nor a roof.
When they post our bald somnambulist as missing from his flat
We take soundings for the digger with a prop.
By the day the board is gratis, by the week it’s half of that;
For the season there’s a corresponding drop.
Opening off the spacious hallway is my natty little suite,
A commodious and accessible abode.
By judicious disposition, with exclusion of my feet,
There is sleeping room for Oliver the toad.
Though the ventilation’s gusty, and in gobs the ceiling falls—
Which with oral respiration disagrees—
Though there comes a certain quantity of seepage from the walls,
There are some I knew in diggings worse than these.
On my right is Cobber Carkeek. There’s a spring above his head,
And his mattress is a special kind of clay.
He’s a most punctilious bloke about the fashion of his bed,
And he makes it with a shovel every day.
Man is dust. If so, the Cobber has been puddled up a treat.
On domestic sanitation he’s a toff,
For he lights a fire on Sunday, bakes his surface in the heat,
Then he takes a little maul, and cracks it off.
After hanging out a winter in this Cimmerian hole
We’re forgetting sheets, and baths, and tidy skins.
In the dark and deadly calm last night they took us on patrol.
Seven, little fellows, thinking of their sins.
It was ours like blinded snails to prowl the soggy, slimy night,
With a feeler pricking out at every pore
For the death that stalks in darkness, or the blinking stab of light,
And the other trifling matters that are war.
That’s the stuff to get your liver, that’s the acid on a man,
For it tries his bones, and seeks his marrow throngh.
You have got the thought to comfort you that life is but a span,
If Fritz squirts his loathly limelight over you.
We got back again at daybreak. Cobber ducked to doss and said,
From the soft, embracing mud: “No more I’ll roam.
“Oh, thank Heaven, blokes,” he murmured, “for the comforts of a bed!
Gorstruth, but ain’t it good to have a home!”