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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