Digger Smith

#Poetry #Australian & Oceanian
rating 0 (votes: 0)

Book's description:

Excerpt I. BEFORE THE WAR   Before the War EFORE the war," she sighs. "Before the war." Then blinks 'er eyes, an' tries to work a smile."Ole scenes," she sez, "don't look the same no more. Ole ways," she sez, "seems to 'ave changed their style, The pleasures that we 'ad don't seem worth while--Them simple joys that passed an hour away-- An' troubles, that we used to so revile,'Ow small they look," she sez. "'Ow small to-day."This war!" sighs ole Mar Flood. An' when I seen The ole girl sittin' in our parlour there,Tellin' 'er troubles to my wife, Doreen, As though the talkin' eased 'er load uv care, I thinks uv mothers, 'ere an' everywhere,Smilin' a bit while they are grievin' sore For grown-up babies, fightin' Over There;An' then I 'ears 'em sigh, "Before the war."My wife 'as took the social 'abit bad. I ain't averse--one more new word I've learned--Averse to tea, when tea is to be 'ad; An' when it comes I reckon that it's earned. It's jist a drink, as fur as I'm concerned,Good for a bloke that's toilin' on the land; But when a caller comes, 'ere I am turnedInto a social butterfly, off-'and.Then drinkin' tea becomes an 'oly rite. So's I won't bring the fam'ly to disgraceI gits a bit uv coachin' overnight On ridin' winners in this bun-fed race. I 'ave to change me shirt, an' wash me face,An' look reel neat, from me waist up at least, An' sling remarks in at the proper place,An' not makes noises drinkin', like a beast."'Ave some more cake. Another slice, now do. An' won't yeh 'ave a second cup uv tea?'Ow is the children?" Ar, it makes me blue! This boodoor 'abit ain't no good to me. I likes to take me tucker plain an' free:Tea an' a chunk out on the job for choice, So I can stoke with no one there to see.Besides, I 'aven't got no comp'ny voice.Uv course, I've 'ad it all out with the wife. I argues that there's work that must be done,An' tells 'er that I 'ates this tony life. She sez there's jooties that we must not shun. You bet that ends it; so I joins the fun,An' puts 'em all at ease with silly grins-- Slings bits uv repartee like "'Ave a bun,"An' passes bread an' butter, for me sins.Since I've been marri'd, say, I've chucked some things, An' learned a whole lot more to fill the space.I've slung all slang; crook words 'ave taken wings, An' I 'ave learned to entertain with grace. But when ole Missus Flood comes round our placeI don't object to 'er, for all 'er sighs; Becos I likes 'er ways, I likes 'er face,An', most uv all, she 'as them mother's eyes."Before the war," she sighs, the poor ole girl. 'Er talk it gets me thinkin' in between,While I'm assistin' at this social whirl. . . . She comes across for comfort to Doreen, To talk about the things that might 'ave beenIf Syd 'ad not been killed at Suvla Bay, Or Jim not done a bunk at seventeen,An' not been 'eard uv since 'e went away.They 'ave a little farm right next to us-- 'Er an' 'er 'usband--where they live alone.Spite uv 'er cares, she ain't the sort to fuss Or serve up sudden tears an' sob an' moan, An' since I've known 'er some'ow I 'ave grownTo see in 'er, an' all the grief she's bore, A million brave ole mothers 'oo 'ave knownDeep sorrer since them days before the war....
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