|Rail-head by 2Lt Gilbert Waterhouse|
Someville is the Rail-head for bully beef and tea,
Matches and candles, and (good for you and me)
Cocoa and coffee and biscuits by the tin,
Sardines, condensed milk, petrol and paraffin.
Truck-load and train load and lorries by the score,
Mule-cart and limber, "What are yer waitin' for?"
Dusty and dirty and full of noisy din,
"If 'e fights upon' is stomach, this' ere army oughter win!"
Someville is the Rail-head, full of noisy din,
Full of men and horses and mules and paraffin,
Frozen meat and apricots and peaches-à-la-tin,
Shunting up and down, across, and round and out and in.
But down beyond the Rail-head and village of that name,
Are green woods, where the cuckoo is calling just the same,
As he used to call in April, in the years before the war,
And he calls the same as ever now and doesn't care a straw,
Down the green and leafy lanes, where Jean and his Marcelle
In spring-time would wander, their loving vows to tell.
But petite Marcelle now is up, and working on the farm,
With only the memory of Jean's encircling arm,
For comfort, chilly comfort, can little Marcelle draw,
And cuckoos are calling, and never care a straw;
And Tommy says that girl Marcelle, indeed she is "no bonn,"
Because Marcelle "no promenade" with any mother's son;
Because petite Marcelle, he says, is always cross and sad,
When cuckoos are calling and all the woods are glad.
And madame, the mother of dark-eyed, sad Marcelle,
"She ain't what yer'd call now a petite demoiselle,
"Gorblimmy, she ain't no!" says Tommy. "She's narpoo! A-scoldin' er daughter, an' makin' such terdoo!"
But mother and daughter, tho' Tommy doesn't see,
Are held by the bond of a common memory,
A husband, a father, a lover, and a son,
The war barely started, and all were up and gone,
And mother and daughter now work upon the farms,
With only the memory of those encircling arms.
Someville is the Rail-head for tea and bully beef,
Dusty and dirty, with all the woods in leaf
In April, sweet April, and all the world at war,
And cuckoos a-calling and never care a straw.
|This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.
The author died in 1916, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.