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Before the War

'Before 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 had 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 today.

'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 and 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 toilin' on the land;
But when a caller comes, 'ere am I turned
Into a social butterfly, off-'and.

Then drinkin' tea becomes a 'oly rite.
So's I won't bring the family to disgrace
I guts 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,

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A Holy War

'Young friend!' . . . I tries to duck, but miss the bus.
'E sees me first, an' 'as me by the 'and.
'Young friend!' 'e sez; an' starts to make a fuss
At meetin' me. 'Why, this,' 'e sez, 'is grand!
Events is workin' better than I planned.
It's Providence that I should meet you thus.
You're jist the man,' 'e sez, 'to make a stand,
An' strive for us.

'Young friend,' 'e sez, 'allow me to explain
But wot 'e 'as to say too well I knows.
I got the stren'th uv it in Spadgers Lane
Not 'arf an hour before'and, when I goes
To see if I could pick up news uv Rose,
After that dentist let me off the chain.
('Painless,' 'e's labelled. So 'e is, I s'pose.
I 'ad the pain.)

'Young friend,' 'e sez. I let 'im 'ave 'is say;
Though I'm already wise to all 'e said
The queer old parson, with 'is gentle way
('E tied Doreen an' me when we was wed)
I likes 'im, from 'is ole soft, snowy 'ead
Down to 'is boots. 'E ain't the sort to pray
When folks needs bread.

Yeh'd think that 'e was simple as a child;
An' so 'e is, some ways; but, by and by,
While 'e is talkin' churchy-like an' mild,
Yeh catch a tiny twinkle in 'is eye
Which gives the office that 'e's pretty fly
To cunnin' lurks. 'E ain't to be beguiled
With fairy tales. An' when I've seen 'em try
'E's only smiled.

'Young friend,' 'e sez, 'I am beset by foes.
The Church,' 'e sez, 'is in a quandary.'
An' then 'e takes an' spills out all 'is woes,
An' 'ints that this 'ere job is up to me.
'Yer aid - per'aps yer strong right arm,' sez 'e,
'Is needed if we are to rescue Rose
From wot base schemes an' wot iniquity
Gawd only knows.'

This is the sorry tale. Rose, sick, an' low
In funds an' frien's, an' far too proud to beg,
Is gittin' sorely tempted fer to go
Into the spielin' trade by one Spike Wegg.
I knoo this Spike uv old; a reel bad egg,
'0o's easy livin' is to git in tow

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(style) style, uh!
(yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Style, dig it
(style) style, come on
Uh, style
Style is not something that comes in a bottle
Style is more like jackie o. when she was doin aristotle
Style is not a logo that sticks 2 the roof of ones ass
Style is like a second cousin 2 class
U got it! - style, come on
U got it! - style, say what?
U got it! - style, come on
U got it! - style, check it
Style aint sittin court side with the owner of the team
Style is owning the court and charging em all a fee
Style is not lusting after someone because theyre cool
Style is loving yourself til everyone else does 2
U got it! - style, come on
U got it! - style, maybe
U got it! - style, well well
U got it! - style
Style dont get drunk on a saturday night
Try 2 dress up every sunday mornin bright
Style dont get married then break the vow in a year
Style is keepin a promise
Raise your hand yall if u hear me
(style) {x2}
Style is not biting style when u cant find the funk
Style is the face u make on a michael jordon dunk
Style aint the jeep u bought when u know your broke ass got bills
Style is lettin your lover drive while u talk on the phone and chill
U got it! - style
U got it! - style, maybe
U got it! - style, come on
U got it! - style
Style is a gold-tooth smile with an attitude
Style is a peaceful wild postin the rude
Style is growing your own food
Style is a non-violent march
Style is an accurate account of whats inside every heart (style)
Style is not a lie
Style is a man that cries
Style is the glow in a pregnant womans eyes
(style) {x4}
U got it! - style, come on
U got it! - style, do that, do that
U got it! - style, got it?
U got it! - style, mad, come on

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Pilot Cove

'Young friend,' 'e sez . . . Young friend! Well, spare me days!
Yeh'd think I wus 'is own white 'eaded boy
The queer ole finger, wiv 'is gentle ways.
'Young friend,' 'e sez, 'I wish't yeh bofe great joy.'
The langwidge that them parson blokes imploy
Fair tickles me. The way 'e bleats an' brays!
'Young friend,' 'e sez.

'Young friend,' 'e sez . . . Yes, my Doreen an' me
We're gettin' hitched, all straight an' on the square.
Fer when I torks about the registry
O 'oly wars! yeh should 'a' seen 'er stare;
'The registry?' she sez, 'I wouldn't dare!
I know a clergyman we'll go an' see . . .
'Young friend,' 'e sez.

'Young friend,' 'e sez. An' then 'e chats me straight;
An' spouts o' death, an' 'ell, an' mortal sins.
'You reckernize this step you contemplate
Is grave?' 'e sez. An' I jist stan's an' grins;
Fer when I chips, Doreen she kicks me shins.
'Yes, very 'oly is the married state,
Young friend,' 'e sez.

'Young friend,' 'e sez. An' then 'e mags a lot
Of jooty an' the spitichuil life,
To which I didn't tumble worth a jot.
'I'm sure,' 'e sez, 'as you will 'ave a wife
'Oo'll 'ave a noble infl'ince on yer life.
'Oo is 'er gardjin?' I sez, ''Er ole pot'
'Young friend!' 'e sez.

'Young friend,' 'e sez. 'Oh fix yet thorts on 'igh!
Orl marridges is registered up there!
An' you must cleave unto 'er till yeh die,
An' cherish 'er wiv love an' tender care.
E'en in the days when she's no longer fair
She's still yet wife,' 'e sez. 'Ribuck,' sez I.
'Young friend!' 'e sez.

'Young friend,' 'e sez - I sez, 'Now, listen 'ere:
This isn't one o' them impetchus leaps.
There ain't no tart a 'undreth part so dear
As 'er. She 'as me 'eart and' soul fer keeps!'
An' then Doreen, she turns away an' weeps;
But 'e jist smiles. 'Yer deep in love, 'tis clear
Young friend,' 'e sez.

'Young friend,' 'e sez - an tears wus in 'is eyes
'Strive 'ard. Fer many, many years I've lived.

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Logic and Spotted Dog

'Unless you 'ide that axe,' she sez, ''E'll 'urt 'imself reel bad.
An' after all - Now, Bill, don't cry! - that trouble that I've 'ad,
Wiv 'im thro' croop an' whoopin' corf, 'e goes an' cuts 'imself!
Why don't you 'ang it on the wall, or 'ide it on a shelf?
But there it wus, jist thrown about. You ort to take more care!
You left it there!

'You left it there,' she sez, 'an' now . . .' I sez, ''Old on a jiff.
Let's git the fac's all sorted out before we 'as a tiff
I'm mighty careful wiv that axe, an' never leaves it out.
An' I'd be mad if that young imp got knockin' it about.'
'Ole axe!' she sez. Look at 'is thumb! A precious lot you care!
You left it there!'

I am marri'd to a woman; which is nacheral an' right.
I sez that over to meself, fer safety, day an' night.
Most times I sez it fond an' proud wiv gladness in me mind;
But sometimes philosophic-like an' wot yeh'd call resigned.
'An axe as sharp as that,' she sez. 'It reely isn't fair!
You left it there!

'The way you pet that axe,' she sez - 'the way it's ground an' filed,
The way you fairly fondle it, you'd think it wus a child!
An' when I pick the ole thing up to cut a bit uv stri
Yeh rave an' shout ...' 'Wait on,' I sez. 'But ir'n's a different thing.
An' you wus choppin' fencin' wire!' She sez, 'Well, I don't care.
You left it there!'

I 'elps meself to spotted dog, an' chews, an' thinks a while.
'I'm reely sorry,' I begins. Then, as I seen 'er smile
I plays 'er fer the fun uv it, an' sez, 'But, all the same,
If he gits foolin' wiv that axe 'e's got 'imself to blame.'
'Er eyes spark up. 'A child like that! Now, Bill, it isn't fair!
You left it there!'

I cuts another slice an' sez, 'This spotted dog's a treat.
Uv course, 'ooever left it there,' I sez, 'wus - indiscreet.
'Careless!' she sez. 'You know you are! 'E might 'a' cut 'is face!
An axe as sharp as that,' she sez, 'should be kep' in its place.'
'Quite right,' I sez. 'An' not,' she sez, 'jist thrown round anywhere.
You left it there!'

An' then I lets 'er 'ave it, an' I sez, 'Now, think a bit.
I put that axe away last night when all the wood wus split.'
'Well, that's enough about it now,' she sez. I seen 'er wince,
An' sez, 'I put that axe away, an' 'aven't used it since;
But someone else wus usin' it this mornin', I kin swear,
An' left it there.'

'Well, never mind . . . Poor Bill!' she sez. 'Was 'is poor thumb all 'urt?'

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Dummy Bridge

'If I'd 'a' played me Jack on that there Ten'
Sez Peter Begg, 'I might 'a' made the lot.'
''Ow could yeh?' barks ole Poole. ''Ow could yeh, when
I 'ad me Queen be'ind?' Sez Begg, 'Wot rot!
I slung away me King to take that trick.
Which one! Say, ain't yer 'ead a trifle thick?'

'Now, don't yeh see that when I plays me King
I give yer Queen a chance, an' lost the slam.'
But Poole, 'e sez 'e don't see no such thing,
So Begg gits 'ot, an' starts to loose a 'Damn.'
'E twigs the missus jist in time to check,
An' makes it 'Dash,' an' gits red down 'is neck.

There's me an' Peter Begg, an' ole man Poole
Neighbours uv mine, that farm a bit close by
Jist once a week or so we makes a school,
An' gives this game uv Dummy Bridge a fly.
Doreen, she 'as her sewing be the fire,
The kid's in bed; an' 'ere's me 'eart's desire.

'Ome-comfort, peace, the picter uv me wife
'Appy at work, me neighbours gathered round
All friendly-like - wot more is there in life?
I've searched a bit, but better I ain't found.
Doreen, she seems content, but in 'er eye
I've seen reel pity when the talk gits 'igh.

This ev'nin' we 'ad started off reel 'ot:
Two little slams, an' Poole, without a score,
Still lookin' sore about the cards 'e'd got
When, sudden-like, a knock comes to the door.
'A visitor,' growls Begg, 'to crool our game.'
An' looks at me, as though I was to blame.

Jist as Doreen goes out, I seen 'er grin.
'Deal 'em up quick!' I whispers. 'Grab yer 'and,
An' look reel occupied when they comes in.
Per'aps they'll 'ave the sense to understand.
If it's a man, maybe 'e'll make a four;
But if' - Then Missus Flood comes in the door.

'Twas ole Mar Flood, 'er face wrapped in a smile.
'Now, boys,' she sez, 'don't let me spoil yer game.
I'll jist chat with Doreen a little while;
But if yeh stop I'll be ashamed I came.'
An' then she waves a letter in 'er 'and.
Sez she, 'Our Jim's a soldier! Ain't it grand?'

'Good boy,' sez Poole. 'Let's see. I make it 'earts.'

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Termarter Sorce

It wasn't kid stakes. I 'ad no crook lurk
To act deceivin', or to treat 'er mean.
I'm old enough to know them games don't work
Not with Doreen.
Besides, deceit ain't in me bag uv tricks.
I got a few; but there is some that sticks.

Sticks in me gizzard. Some blokes sees no wrong
In workin' points, an' thinks it bonzer sport
To trifle with a wife's belief, so long
As they ain't cort.
But, when yeh play the game on dead straight lines,
It 'urts to be accused uv base designs.

It starts this mornin'. I wake with a tooth
That's squirmin' like a basketful uv snakes.
Per'aps I groan a bit, to tell the truth;
An' then she wakes,
An' arsts me wot I'm makin' faces for.
I glare at 'er, an' nurse me achin' jor.

That was no very 'appy mornin' song.
I ain't excusin' my end uv the joke;
But, after that, things seem to go all wrong.
She never spoke
One narsty word; but, while the chops she serves,
'Er shrieks uv silence fair got on me nerves.

She might 'ave arst wot ailed me. Spare me days I
She seen that I was crook. She seen me face
Swelled like a poisoned pup's. She only says,
'Please to say grace.'
I mumbles ... Then, in tones that wakes brute force,
She twitters, 'Will yeh take termarter sorce?'

I could n't eat no breakfast. Just the sight
Uv sweet things give me tooth a new, worse ache.
Sez she: 'You seem to lost yer apetite.
'Ave some seed cake.'
Seed cake! Gawstruth! I'm there in agerny,
An' she, 'oo swore to love, sits mockin' me.

At last, when our small son gits orf to school,
I goes an' sits down sulkin' on a couch.
''Ave you a toothache, Bill?' sez she, quite cool,
'Or jist plain grouch?
Yer face looks funny. P'raps yer gittin' fat.'
I glare at 'er an' answer, 'Huh!' . . like that.

That one word, 'Huh,' said in a certain way,

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Digger Smith

'E calls me Digger; that's 'ow 'e begins.
'E sez 'e's only 'arf a man; an' grins.
Judged be 'is nerve, I'd say 'e was worth two
Uv me an' you.
Then 'e digs 'arf a fag out uv 'is vest,
Borrers me matches, an' I gives 'im best.

The first I 'eard about it Poole told me.
'There is a bloke called Smith at Flood's,' sez 'e;
'Come there this mornin', sez 'e's come to stay,
An' won't go 'way.
Sez 'e was sent there be a pal named Flood;
An' talks uv contracts sealed with Flanders mud.

'No matter wot they say, 'e only grins,'
Sez Poole. ''E's rather wobbly on 'is pins.
Seems like a soldier bloke. An' Peter Begg
'E sez one leg
Works be machinery, but I dunno.
I only know 'e's there an' 'e won't go.

''E grins,' sez Poole, 'at ev'rything they say.
Dad Flood 'as nearly 'ad a fit today.
'E's cursed, an' ordered 'im clean off the place;
But this cove's face
Jist goes on grinnin', an' he sez, quite carm,
'E's come to do a bit around the farm.'

The tale don't sound too good to me at all.
'If 'e's a crook,' I sez, ''e wants a fall.
Maybe 'e's dilly. I'll go round and see.
'E'll grin at me
When I 'ave done, if 'e needs dealin' with.'
So I goes down to interview this Smith.

'E 'ad a fork out in the tater patch.
Sez 'e, 'Why 'ello, Digger. Got a match?'
'Digger?' I sez. 'Well, you ain't digger 'ere.
You better clear.
You ought to know that you can't dig them spuds.
They don't belong to you; they're ole Dad Flood's.'

'Can't I?' 'e grins. 'I'll do the best I can,
Considerin' I'm only 'arf a man.
Give us a light. I can't get none from Flood,
An' mine is dud.'
I parts; an' 'e stands grinning at me still;
An' then 'e sez, ''Ave yeh fergot me, Bill?'

I looks, an' seen a tough bloke, short an' thin.

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The Crusaders

'Peter the 'Ermit was a 'oly bloke,'
The parson sez, 'wot chivvied coves to war.'
'Too right,' I chips. 'I've 'eard that yarn before.'
'Brave knights sprung straight to arms where'er 'e spoke.'
'Sure thing,' sez I. 'It muster been no joke
Tinnin' yer frame in them dead days uv yore
Before yeh starts to tap a foeman's gore.'

'Peter the 'Ermit was a man inspired,'
The parson sez. We're moochin' up the Lane,
Snoopin' around for news we might obtain
Uv this Spike Wegg, the man 'oo I am 'ired
To snatch by 'ook or crook, jist as required
By circs, frum out the sev'ril sins wot stain
'Is wicked soul. I 'ope me meanin's plain.

'Peter the 'Ermit,' sez the parson, 'saw
No 'arm in vi'lince when the cause was just.
While 'e deplored, no doubt, the fightin' lust,
'E preached-' ''Old on,' I sez. ''Ere comes the Law:
'Ere's Brannigan, the cop. Pos'pone the jaw
Till we confer. I got idears 'e must
Keep track uv Spike; if 'e toils fer 'is crust.'

'Spike Wegg?' growls Brannigan. 'I know that bloke;
An' 'e's the one sweet soul I long to see.
That shrinkin' vi'lit 'ates publicity
Jist now,' sez Brannigan. 'Spike Wegg's in smoke.
Oh, jist concerns a cove 'e tried to croak.
'E's snug in some joint round about, maybe.
If you should meet, remember 'im to me.'

The cop passed on. 'Peter the 'Ermit was
A ri'chus man,' the parson sez, 'wot knoo -'
''Old 'ard!' I begs. 'Jist for a hour or two
I wouldn't go an' nurse sich thorts, becoz
Too much soul-ferritin' might put the moz
On this 'ere expedition. I'll 'elp you
To search our conscience when the job is through.

'I know yer doubts,' I sez, 'an' 'ow you 'ate
The thorts uv stoush, an' 'old 'ard blows in dread.
But Pete the 'Ermit's been a long time dead.
'E'll keep. But we are in the 'ands uv Fate,
An' 'oly spruikers uv a ancient date
Don't 'elp. I quite agrees with all you've said
But-' 'Say no more,' 'e answers. 'Lead ahead.'

'But, all the same,' 'e sez, 'I want no fight.'
'Right 'ere, be'ind this 'oardin',' I replies,

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Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau, Saviour of Society


Υδραν φονεύσας, μυρίων τ᾽ ἄλλων πόνων
διῆλθον ἀγέλας . . .
τὸ λοίσθιον δὲ τόνδ᾽ ἔτλην τάλας πόνον,
. . . δῶμα θριγκῶσαι κακοῖς.

I slew the Hydra, and from labour pass'd
To labour — tribes of labours! Till, at last,
Attempting one more labour, in a trice,
Alack, with ills I crowned the edifice.

You have seen better days, dear? So have I
And worse too, for they brought no such bud-mouth
As yours to lisp "You wish you knew me!" Well,
Wise men, 't is said, have sometimes wished the same,
And wished and had their trouble for their pains.
Suppose my Œdipus should lurk at last
Under a pork-pie hat and crinoline,
And, latish, pounce on Sphynx in Leicester Square?
Or likelier, what if Sphynx in wise old age,
Grown sick of snapping foolish people's heads,
And jealous for her riddle's proper rede, —
Jealous that the good trick which served the turn
Have justice rendered it, nor class one day
With friend Home's stilts and tongs and medium-ware,—
What if the once redoubted Sphynx, I say,
(Because night draws on, and the sands increase,
And desert-whispers grow a prophecy)
Tell all to Corinth of her own accord.
Bright Corinth, not dull Thebes, for Lais' sake,
Who finds me hardly grey, and likes my nose,
And thinks a man of sixty at the prime?
Good! It shall be! Revealment of myself!
But listen, for we must co-operate;
I don't drink tea: permit me the cigar!
First, how to make the matter plain, of course
What was the law by which I lived. Let 's see:
Ay, we must take one instant of my life
Spent sitting by your side in this neat room:
Watch well the way I use it, and don't laugh!
Here's paper on the table, pen and ink:
Give me the soiled bitnot the pretty rose!
See! having sat an hour, I'm rested now,
Therefore want work: and spy no better work
For eye and hand and mind that guides them both,
During this instant, than to draw my pen
From blot One — thus — up, up to blot Two — thus —
Which I at last reach, thus, and here's my line
Five inches long and tolerably straight:

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'Ah, wot's the use?' she sez. 'Lea' me alone!
Why can't I go to 'ell in my own way?
I never arst you 'ere to mag an' moan.
Nor yet,' she sez, 'to pray.
I'll take wot's comin', an' whine no excuse.
So wot's the use?

'Me life's me own!' she sez. 'You got a nerve
You two - to interfere in my affairs.
Git out an' give advise where it may serve:
Stay 'ome an' bleat yer pray'rs.
Did I come pleadin' for yer pity? No!
Well, why not go?'

Pride! Dilly pride an' down-an'-out despair:
When them two meet there's somethin' got to break.
I got that way, to see 'er sittin' there,
I felt like I could take
That 'arf-starved frame uv 'er's by might an' main,
An' shake 'er sane.

That's 'ow it is when me an' parson roam
Down to the paradise wot Spadgers knows,
To find the 'ovel that she calls 'er 'ome,
An' 'ave a word with Rose.
Imgagin' 'igh-strung cliners in dispute
Ain't my long suit.

'Huh! Rescue work!' she sneers. 'Er eyes is bright;
'Er voice is 'ard. 'I'm a deservin' case.
Me? Fancy! Don't I look a pretty sight
To come to savin' grace?
Pity the sinner - Aw, don't come that trick!
It makes me sick!'

'Isterical she was, or nearly so:
Too little grub, an' too much time to fret
Ingrowin' grouch sich as few women know,
Or want to know - an' yet,
When I glance at the parson, there I see
Raw misery.

I've knowed ole Snowy since the days uv old;
Yet never 'ad I got so close to see
A world-wise man 'oo's 'cart is all pure gold
An' 'uman charity.
For, all that girl was suff'rln', well I knoo,
'E suffered too.

'My child,' 'e sez, 'I don't come 'ere to preach.

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'Now, be the Hokey Fly!' sez Peter Begg.
'Suppose 'e comes 'ome with a wooden leg.
Suppose 'e isn't fit to darnce at all,
Then, ain't we 'asty fixin' up this ball?
A little tournament at Bridge is my
Idear,' sez Peter. 'Be the Hokey Fly!'

Ole Peter Begg is gettin' on in years.
'E owns a reel good farm; an' all 'e fears
Is that some girl will land 'im, by an' by,
An' shar it with 'im - be the Hokey Fly.
That's 'is pet swear-word, an' I dunno wot
'E's meanin', but 'e uses it a lot.

'Darncin'!' growls Begg. We're fixin' up the 'all
With bits uv green stuff for a little ball
To welcome Jim, 'oo's comin' 'ome nex' day.
We're 'angin' flags around to make things gay,
An' shiftin' chairs, an' candle-greasin' floors,
As is our way when blokes comes 'ome from wars.

'A little game uv Bridge,' sez Peter Begg.
'Would be more decent like, an' p'r'aps a keg
Uv somethin' if the 'ero's feelin' dry.
But this 'ere darncin'! Be the Hokey Fly,
These selfish women never thinks at all
About the guest; they only wants the ball.

'Now, cards,' sez Begg, 'amuses ev'ry one.
An' then our soldier guest could 'ave 'is fun
If 'e'd lost both 'is legs. It makes me sick
'Ere! Don't spread that candle-grease too thick
Yeh're wastin' it; an' us men 'as to buy
Enough for nonsense, be the Hokey Fly!'

Begg, 'e ain't never keen on wastin' much.
'Peter,' I sez, 'it's you that needs a crutch.
Why don't yeh get a wife, an' settle down?'
'E looks reel fierce, an' answers, with a frown,
'Do you think I am goin' to be rooked
For 'arf me tucker, jist to get it cooked?'

I lets it go at that, an' does me job;
An' when a little later on I lob
Along the 'omeward track, down by Flood's gate
I meet ole Digger Smith, an' stops to state
Me views about the weather an' the war
'E tells me Jim gets 'ere nex' day, at four.

An' as we talk, I sees along the road

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Uncle Jim

'I got no time fer wasters, lad,' sez 'e,
'Give me a man wiv grit,' sez Uncle Jim.
'E bores 'is cute ole eyes right into me,
While I stares 'ard an' gives it back to 'im.
Then orl at once 'e grips me 'and in 'is:
'Some'ow,' 'e sez, 'I likes yer ugly phiz.'

'You got a look,' 'e sez, 'like you could stay;
Altho' yeh mauls King's English when yeh yaps,
An' 'angs flash frills on ev'rythink yeh say.
I ain't no grammarist meself, per'aps,
But langwidge is a 'elp, I owns,' sez Unk,
'When things is goin' crook.' An' 'ere 'e wunk.

'Yeh'll find it tough,' 'e sez, 'to knuckle down.
Good farmin' is a gift—like spoutin' slang.
Yeh'll 'ave to cut the luxuries o' town,
An' chuck the manners of this back-street gang;
Fer country life ain't cigarettes and beer.'
'I'm game,' I sez. Sez Uncle, 'Put it 'ere!'

Like that I took the plunge, an' slung the game.
I've parted wiv them joys I 'eld most dear;
I've sent the leery bloke that bore me name
Clean to the pack wivout one pearly tear;
An' frum the ashes of a ne'er-do-well
A bloomin' farmer's blossomin' like 'ell.

Farmer! That's me! Wiv this 'ere strong right 'and
I've gripped the plough; and blistered jist a treat.
Doreen an' me 'as gone upon the land.
Yours truly fer the burden an' the 'eat!
Yours truly fer upendin' chunks o' soil!
The 'ealthy, 'ardy, 'appy son o' toil!

I owns I've 'ankered fer me former joys;
I've 'ad me hours o' broodin' on me woes;
I've missed the comp'ny, an' I've missed the noise,
The football matches an' the picter shows.
I've missed—but, say, it makes me feel fair mean
To whip the cat; an' then see my Doreen.

To see the colour comin' in 'er cheeks,
To see 'er eyes grow brighter day be day,
The new, glad way she looks an' laughs an' speaks
Is worf ten times the things I've chucked away.
An' there's a secret, whispered in the dark,
'As made me 'eart sing like a flamin' lark.

Jist let me tell yeh 'ow it come about.

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'E sez to me, 'Wot's orl this flamin' war?
The papers torks uv nothin' else but scraps.
An'wot's ole England got snake-'eaded for?
An' wot's the strength uv callin' out our chaps?'
'E sez to me, 'Struth! Don't she rule the sea?
Wot does she want wiv us?' 'e sez to me.

Ole Ginger Mick is loadin' up 'is truck
One mornin' in the markit feelin' sore.
'E sez to me, 'Well, mate, I've done me luck;
An' Rose is arstin', 'Wot about this war?'
I'm gone a tenner at the two-up school;
The game is crook, an' Rose is turnin' cool.

'E sez to me, ''Ow is it fer a beer?'
I tips 'im 'ow I've told me wife, Doreen,
That when I comes down to the markit 'ere
I dodges pubs, an' chucks the tipple, clean.
Wiv 'er an' kid alone up on the farm
She's full uv fancies that I'll come to 'arm.

''Enpecked!' 'e sez. An' then, 'Ar, I dunno.
I wouldn't mind if I wus in yer place.
I've 'arf a mind to give cold tea a go
It's no game, pourin' snake-juice in yer face.
But, lad, I 'ave to, wiv the thirst I got.
I'm goin' over now to stop a pot.'

'E goes acrost to find a pint a 'ome;
An' meets a pal an' keeps another down.
Ten minutes later, when 'e starts to roam
Back to the markit, wiv an ugly frown,
'E spags a soljer bloke 'oo's passin' by,
An' sez 'e'd like to dot 'im in the eye.

'Your sort,' sez Mick, 'don't know yer silly mind!
They lead yeh like a sheep; it's time yeh woke
The 'eads is makin' piles out uv your kind!'
'Aw, git yer 'ead read!' sez the soljer bloke.
'Struth! 'e wus willin' wus that Kharki' chap;
I 'ad me work cut out to stop a scrap.

An 'as the soljer fades acrost the street,
Mick strikes a light an' sits down on 'is truck,
An' chews 'is fag - a sign 'is nerve is beat
An' swears a bit, an' sez 'e's done is luck.
'E grouches there ten minutes, maybe more,
Then sez quite sudden, 'Blarst the flamin'war!'

Jist then a motor car goes glidin' by

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I've knowed ole Flood this last five year or more;
I knoo 'im when 'is Syd went to the war.
A proud ole man 'e was. But I've watched 'im,
An' seen 'is look when people spoke uv Jim:
As sour a look as most coves want to see.
It made me glad that this 'ere Jim weren't me.

I sized up Flood the first day that we met
Stubborn as blazes when 'is mind is set,
Ole-fashioned in 'is looks an' in 'is ways,
Believin' it is honesty that pays;
An' still dead set, in spite uv bumps 'e's got,
To keep on honest if it pays or not.

Poor ole Dad Flood, 'e is too old to fight
By close on thirty year; but if I'm right
About 'is doin's an' about 'is grit,
'E's done a fair bit over 'is fair bit.
They are too old to fight, but, all the same,
'Is kind's quite young enough to play the game.

I've 'eard it called, this war - an' it's the truth
I've 'eard it called the sacrifice uv youth.
An' all this land 'as reckernized it too,
An' gives the boys the praises that is doo.
I've 'eard the cheers for ev'ry fightin' lad;
But, up to now, I ain't 'eard none for Dad.

Ole Flood, an' all 'is kind throughout the land,
They aint' been 'eralded with no brass band,
Or been much thought about; but, take my tip,
The war 'as found them with a stiffened lip.
'Umpin' a load they thought they'd dropped for good,
Crackin' reel 'ardy, an' - jist sawin' wood.

Dad Flood, 'is back is bent, 'is strength is gone;
'E'd done 'is bit before this war come on.
At sixty-five 'e thought 'is work was done;
'E gave the farmin' over to 'is son,
An' jist sat back in peace, with 'is ole wife,
To spend content the ev'nin' of 'is life.

Then comes the war. An' when Syd 'esitates
Between the ole folk an' 'is fightin' mates,
The ole man goes outside an' grabs a hoe.
Sez 'e, 'Yeh want to, an' yeh ought to go.
Wot's stoppin' yeh?' 'E straightens 'is ole frame.
'Ain't I farmed long enough to know the game?'

There weren't no more to say. An' Syd went - West:

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Ave a 'eart!

''Ere! 'Ave a 'eart!' 'e sez. 'Why, love a duck!
A 'uman bein' ain't a choppin' block!
There ain't no call fer you to go an' chuck
A man about when 'e 'as took the knock.
Gaw! Do yeh want to bust 'im all apart!
'Ere! 'Ave a 'eart!

'Aw, 'ave a 'eart!' 'e weeps. 'A fight's a fight;
But, strike me bandy, this is bloody war!
It's murder! An' you got no blasted right
To arst a 'uman man to come fer more.
'E 'ad no chance with you right frum the start.
Aw, 'ave a 'eart!

'Yeh've pulped 'is dile,' 'e whines; 'yeh've pinched 'is gun;
Yeh've bunged 'is eye 'an bashed in 'arf 'is teeth.
'Struth! Ain't yeh satisfied with wot yeh've done?
Or are you out to fit 'im fer a wreath?
The man's 'arf dead a'ready! Wot's yer dart?
Say, 'ave a 'eart!'

I never did 'ear sich a bloke to squeal
About a trifle. This 'ere pal uv Spike's
Don't seem to 'ave the stummick fer a deal
Uv solid stoush: rough work don't soot 'is likes.
'E ain't done much but blather frum the start,
''Ere 'ave a 'eart!'

A rat-face coot 'e is, with rat-like nerves
That's got all jangled with ixceedin' fright,
While I am 'andin' Spike wot 'e deserves.
But twice 'e tried to trip me in the fight,
The little skunk, now sobbin' like a tart,
'Aw, 'ave a 'eart!'

This 'ere's the pretty pitcher in Ah Foo's
Back privit room: Spite Wegg, well on the floor,
Is bleedin' pretty, with a bonzer bruise
Paintin' one eye, an' 'arf 'is clobber tore.
While me, the conq'rin' 'ero, stan's above
'Owlin' me love.

The rat-face mutt is dancin' up an' down;
Ah Foo is singin' jazz in raw Chinee;
The parson's starin' at me with a frown,
As if 'e thort sich things could never be;
An' I'm some bloke 'e's but 'arf rekernised
'E's 'ipnertised.

Foo's furniture is scattered any'ow,

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Jist 'ere it gripped me, on a sudden, like a red-'ot knife.
I wus diggin' in the garden, talkin' pleasant to me wife,
When it got me good an' solid, an' I fetches out a yell,
An' curses soft down in me neck, an' breathes 'ard fer a spell.
Then, when I tries to straighten up, it stabs me ten times worse.
I thinks per'aps I'm dyin', an' chokes back a reel 'ot curse.

'I've worked too fast,' I tells Doreen. 'Me backbone's runnin' 'ot.
I'm sick! I've got-0o, 'oly wars! I dunno wot I've got!
Jist 'ere - Don't touch! - jist round back 'ere, a blazin' little pain.
Is clawin' up me spinal cord an' slidin' down again.'
'You come inside,' she sez. 'Per'aps it's stoopin' in the sun.
Does it 'urt much?' I sez, 'Oh, no; I'm 'avin' lots o' fun.'

Then, cooin' to me, woman-like, she pilots me inside.
It stabs me every step I takes; I thort I could 'a' died.
'There now,' she sez. 'Men can't stand pain, it's alwus understood.'
'Stand pain?' I owls. Then, Jumpin' Jakes! It gits me reely good!
So I gets to bed in sections, fer it give me beans to bend,
An' shuts me eyes, an' groans again, an' jist waits fer the end.

'Now, you lie still,' she orders me, 'until I think wot's best.
Per'aps 'ot bran, or poultices. You jist lie still, an' rest,'
Rest? 'Oly Gosh! I clinched me teeth, an' clawed the bloomin' bunk;
Fer a red-'ot poker jabbed me ev'ry time I much as wunk.
I couldn't corf, I couldn't move, I couldn't git me breath.
'Look after Bill,' I tells Doreen. 'I feels thatthis is… death.'

'Death, fiddlesticks,' she laughs at me. 'You jist turn over now.'
I 'owls, ''Ere! Don't you touch me, or there'll be a blazin' row!
I want to die jist as I am.' She sez, 'Now, Bill, 'ave sense.
This 'as to go on while it's 'ot.' I groans, 'I've no defence.'
An' so she 'as 'er way wiv me. An', tho' I'm suff'rin' bad,
I couldn't 'elp but noticin' the gentle touch she 'ad.

That ev'nin', when the doctor come, sez 'e, 'Ah! 'Urtin' much?
Where is the trouble?' I sez, 'Where you ain't allowed to touch!'
'E mauls an' prods me while I 'owls to beat the bloomin' band.
Gawbli'me! I'd 'a' cracked 'im if I'd strength to lift me 'and.
'Discribe yer symtims now,' sez 'e. I fills meself wiv wind,
An' slung 'im out a catalog while 'e jist stood an' grinned.

'Ar, bar!' 'e sez. 'Sciatiker! Oh, we'll soon 'ave yeh well.'
'Sciatiker?' sez I. 'Yer sure yeh don't mean Jumpin' 'Ell?
It ain't no privit devil wiv a little jagged knife?'
'Tut, rut,' 'e grins. 'You'll soon be right. I leaves yeh to yer wife.'
I looks at 'er, she smiles at me, an' when I seen that smile:
'Aw, poultices!' I groans. An' she injoys it all the while!

But I'm marri'd to a woman; an', I gives yeh my straight tip,

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Jim's Girl

''Oo is that girl,' sez Digger Smith,
That never seems to bother with
No blokes: the bint with curly 'air?
I've often seen 'er over there
Talkin' to Missus Flood, an' she
Seems like a reel ripe peach to me.

'Not that I'm askin'' ... 'Ere 'is eyes
Goes sort uv swiv'ly, an' 'e sighs.
'Not that I'm askin' with idears
Uv love an' marridge; 'ave no fears.
I've chucked the matrimony plan,'
'E sez. 'I'm only 'arf a man.'

This Digger Smith 'as fairly got
Me rampin' with 'is ''arf a man' rot.
'E 'as a timber leg, it's true;
But 'e can do the work uv two.
Besides, the things 'e's done Out There
Makes 'im one man an' some to spare.

I knoo 'is question was jist kid.
'E'd met this girl; I know 'e did.
'E knoo Jim Flood an' 'er was booked
For double when the 'Un was cooked.
But, seein' 'er, it used to start
'Im thinkin' of another tart.

'Oh, 'er?' sez I. 'She is a pearl.
I've 'eard she used to be Jim's girl;
But she was jist a child when Jim

Got out. She 'as forgotten 'im.'
I knows jist wot is in 'is mind,
An' sez, 'Wade in, if you're inclined.'

'E give me such a narsty look
I thought 'e meant to answer crook;
But, 'I ain't out for jokes,' sez 'e
'Yeh needn't sling that stuff to me.
I only was jist thinkin' - p'r'aps...
There's some,' 'e sez, 'that sticks to chaps.

'Some girls,' sez 'e, 'keeps true to chaps,
An' wed 'em when they've done with scraps,
An' come 'ome whole. Yeh don't ixpec'
No tart to tie up with a wreck?
Besides,' 'e sez ... 'Well, any'ow,
That girl's all right; I know it now.

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VI. Giuseppe Caponsacchi

Answer you, Sirs? Do I understand aright?
Have patience! In this sudden smoke from hell,—
So things disguise themselves,—I cannot see
My own hand held thus broad before my face
And know it again. Answer you? Then that means
Tell over twice what I, the first time, told
Six months ago: 't was here, I do believe,
Fronting you same three in this very room,
I stood and told you: yet now no one laughs,
Who then … nay, dear my lords, but laugh you did,
As good as laugh, what in a judge we style
Laughter—no levity, nothing indecorous, lords!
Only,—I think I apprehend the mood:
There was the blameless shrug, permissible smirk,
The pen's pretence at play with the pursed mouth,
The titter stifled in the hollow palm
Which rubbed the eyebrow and caressed the nose,
When I first told my tale: they meant, you know,
"The sly one, all this we are bound believe!
"Well, he can say no other than what he says.
"We have been young, too,—come, there's greater guilt!
"Let him but decently disembroil himself,
"Scramble from out the scrape nor move the mud,—
"We solid ones may risk a finger-stretch!
And now you sit as grave, stare as aghast
As if I were a phantom: now 't is—"Friend,
"Collect yourself!"—no laughing matter more
"Counsel the Court in this extremity,
"Tell us again!"—tell that, for telling which,
I got the jocular piece of punishment,
Was sent to lounge a little in the place
Whence now of a sudden here you summon me
To take the intelligence from just—your lips!
You, Judge Tommati, who then tittered most,—
That she I helped eight months since to escape
Her husband, was retaken by the same,
Three days ago, if I have seized your sense,—
(I being disallowed to interfere,
Meddle or make in a matter none of mine,
For you and law were guardians quite enough
O' the innocent, without a pert priest's help)—
And that he has butchered her accordingly,
As she foretold and as myself believed,—
And, so foretelling and believing so,
We were punished, both of us, the merry way:
Therefore, tell once again the tale! For what?
Pompilia is only dying while I speak!
Why does the mirth hang fire and miss the smile?
My masters, there's an old book, you should con
For strange adventures, applicable yet,

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The Also-Ran

I know I'm dull. I know I got a brain
That's only fit fer fertilizin' 'air.
I don't arst for bokays: I ain't that vain;
But fair is fair.
An' when yeh think yer somethin' uv a man,
It 'urts to find yerself a also-ran.

'Urts like one thing. To git sent to the pack
When you 'ave 'ad idears you're ace an' king
An' all the pitcher cards down to the jack
Is like to sting
Yer vanity. I thort I was some use,
An' now I'm valyid as a 'umble dooce.

Don't mind my sulks. I s'pose I 'as swelled 'ead;
But gittin' snouted ain't wot I expeck.
Aw, they can 'ave it on their own! I'm full
Up to the neck!
Never no more! I chuck good works right 'ere. . .
But lets start frum the start an' git it clear.

I own I used me nut. Fer marriage brings
Experience to stop yeh actin' rash.
I've missed the step before through rushin' things,
An' come a crash.
I planned it out all careful frum the start;
Me taticks was a reel fine work uv art.

Me problem's this: The noos 'as to be broke
Concernin' Rose. Doreen 'as to he told.
The 'ow an' when that bit uv noos is spoke
I've learnt uv old.
I'm shrood. I wait. I watch me chance to act.
The trick's to know the time an' place exact.

You blokes unmarrid ain't got no idear
Uv 'ow successful 'usbands works their 'eads.
It's like a feller strugglin' to keep clear
A thousand threads.
Once let 'em tangle, an' you take the blame.
You're up to putty; an' yeh've lost the game.

I picks a nice, calm, cozy, peaceful night.
The suppper things is washed; the kid's in bed
(I 'elped to wipe the plates) the fire burns bright;
An' then I led
The tork around to tales uv Ginger Mick,
Cunnin' an' crafty like, an' not too quick.

'Funny,' I sez, 'that we should mention Mick.

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Tom Zart's 52 Best Of The Rest America At War Poems


The White House
Tom Zart's Poems

March 16,2007
Ms. Lillian Cauldwell
President and Chief Executive Officer
Passionate Internet Voices Radio
Ann Arbor Michigan

Dear Lillian:
Number 41 passed on the CDs from Tom Zart. Thank you for thinking of me. I am thankful for your efforts to honor our brave military personnel and their families. America owes these courageous men and women a debt of gratitude, and I am honored to be the commander in chief of the greatest force for freedom in the history of the world.
Best Wishes.


George W. Bush


Our sons and daughters serve in harm's way
To defend our way of life.
Some are students, some grandparents
Many a husband or wife.

They face great odds without complaint
Gambling life and limb for little pay.
So far away from all they love
Fight our soldiers for whom we pray.

The plotters and planners of America's doom
Pledge to murder and maim all they can.
From early childhood they are taught
To kill is to become a man.

They exploit their young as weapons of choice
Teaching in heaven, virgins will await.
Destroying lives along with their own
To learn of their falsehoods too late.

The fearful cry we must submit
And find a way to soothe them.
Where defenders worry if we stand down
The future for America is grim.

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