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This poem is often wrongly thought to be by Robert W Service. It is published here to the memory of Hugh Antoine D'Arcy, its rightful father.
An Evening with the Bard of the Yukon, July 18 th 2003 at 20.30pm in the Town-Hall of Lancieux, Brittany.
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Archives > Books and Poetry > Poetry > Rhymes of a Red Cross Man (1916) > The Odyssey of 'Erbert 'Iggins

The Odyssey of 'Erbert 'Iggins

Published by Susan on 07/23/2003 (5799 reads)
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Me and Ed and a stretcher...

Me and Ed and a stretcher
  Out on the nootral ground.
(If there's one dead corpse, I'll betcher
  There's a 'undred smellin' around.)
Me and Eddie O'Brian,
  Both of the R. A. M. C.
"It'as a 'ell of a night
For a soul to take flight,"
  As Eddie remarks to me.
Me and Ed crawlin' 'omeward,
  Thinkin' our job is done,
When sudden and clear,
Wot do we 'ear:
  'Owl of a wounded 'Un.

"Got to take 'im," snaps Eddy;
  "Got to take all we can.
'E may be a Germ
Wiv the 'eart of a worm,
  But, blarst 'im! ain't 'e a man?"
So 'e sloshes out fixin' a dressin'
  ('E'd always a medical knack),
When that wounded 'Un
'E rolls to 'is gun,
  And 'e plugs me pal in the back.

Now what would you do? I arst you.
  There was me slaughtered mate.
There was that 'Un
(I'd collered 'is gun),
  A-snarlin' 'is 'ymn of 'ate.
Wot did I do? 'Ere, whisper . . .
  'E'd a shiny bald top to 'is 'ead,
But when I got through,
Between me and you,
  It was 'orrid and jaggy and red.

"'Ang on like a limpet, Eddy.
  Thank Gord! you ain't dead after all."
It's slow and it's sure and it's steady
  (Which is 'ard, for 'e's big and I'm small).
The rockets are shootin' and shinin',
  It's rainin' a perishin' flood,
The bullets are buzzin' and whinin',
  And I'm up to me stern in the mud.
There's all kinds of 'owlin' and 'ootin';
  It's black as a bucket of tar;
Oh, I'm doin' my bit,
But I'm 'avin' a fit,
  And I wish I was 'ome wiv Mar.

"Stick on like a plaster, Eddy.
  Old sport, you're a-slackin' your grip."
Gord! But I'm crocky already;
  My feet, 'ow they slither and slip!
There goes the biff of a bullet.
  The Boches have got us for fair.
Another one -- WHUT!
The son of a slut!
  'E managed to miss by a 'air.
'Ow! Wot was it jabbed at me shoulder?
  Gave it a dooce of a wrench.
Is it Eddy or me
Wot's a-bleedin' so free?
  Crust! but it's long to the trench.
I ain't just as strong as a Sandow,
  And Ed ain't a flapper by far;
I'm blamed if I understand 'ow
  We've managed to get where we are.
But 'ere's for a bit of a breather.
  "Steady there, Ed, 'arf a mo'.
Old pal, it's all right;
It's a 'ell of a fight,
  But are we down-'earted? No-o-o."

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