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Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929)

To Stretcher Bearers


              1Easy does it -- bit o' trench 'ere,
              2Mind that blinkin' bit o' wire,
              3There's a shell 'ole on your left there,
              4Lift 'im up a little 'igher.
              5Stick it, lad, ye'll soon be there now,
              6Want to rest 'ere for a while?
              7Let 'im dahn then -- gently -- gently,
              8There ye are, lad. That's the style.
              9Want a drink, mate? 'Ere's my bottle,
            10Lift 'is 'ead up for 'im, Jack,
            11Put my tunic underneath 'im,
            12'Ow's that, chummy? That's the tack!
            13Guess we'd better make a start now,
            14Ready for another spell?
            15Best be goin', we won't 'urt ye,
            16But 'e might just start to shell.
            17Are ye right, mate? Off we goes then.
            18That's well over on the right,
            19Gawd Almighty, that's a near 'un!
            20'Old your end up good and tight,
            21Never mind, lad, you're for Blighty,
            22Mind this rotten bit o' board.

            23We'll soon 'ave ye tucked in bed, lad,
            24'Opes ye gets to my old ward.
            25No more war for you, my 'earty,
            26This'll get ye well away,
            27Twelve good months in dear old Blighty,
            28Twelve good months if you're a day,
            29M.O.'s got a bit o' something
            30What'll stop that blarsted pain.
            31'Ere's a rotten bit o' ground, mate,
            32Lift up 'igher -- up again,
            33Wish 'e'd stop 'is blarsted shellin'
            34Makes it rotten for the lad.
            35When a feller's been and got it,
            36It affec's 'im twice as bad.
            37'Ow's it goin' now then, sonny?
            38'Ere's that narrow bit o' trench,
            39Careful, mate, there's some dead Jerries,
            40Lawd Almighty, what a stench!
            41'Ere we are now, stretcher-case, boys,
            42Bring him aht a cup o' tea!
            43Inasmuch as ye have done it
            44Ye have done it unto Me.

Notes

2] blinkin': mild swear word.

7] dahn: down.

12] tack: way.

21] Blighty: England, home.

24] ward: hospital room with multiple patient beds.

29] M.O.: medical officer.

39] Jerries: German soldiers.

44] From Jesus' description of the last judgment, especially Matthew 25: 34-40:

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
for I was ahungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee ahungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Rev. Studdert Kennedy, M.C., C.F. ("Woodbine Willy"), More Rough Rhymes of a Padre (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919): 9-10. 1919 (5) 168 Cambridge University Library
First publication date: 1919
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2003
Recent editing: 1:2003/8/10

Rhyme: mainly abcbdefe ...


Other poems by Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy