Edward George Dyson
How Herman Won The Cross
Once in a blue eternity they gave us
dabs of rum
To close the seams 'n' keep the flume in
But, soft 'n' sentimental, when the long, cold
I'd dream me nibs was dronking' to the height
of his ambition,
With rights of suction over all the breweries
Where barrels squat, like Brahma gods, in
Mother Hardy's bar.
I had me fit of longin' on the night the Ger-
All breathin' lioke a gas attack. The air
We smelt 'em in the darkness, 'n' our rage
went up in flame.
It was envy, squealin' envy, put the ginger
in the frolic.
We shot 'em full of spelter, then went over it
The swines what drunk the liquor that was
ours by common right.
“If this ain't stopped, 'n' quick,” sez we,
“there won't be left a drop
To celebrate the vict'ry when we capture
I'm prowlin' blind, when sharp there comes a
fond, familiar plop-
Swung round a post, a German in a pitiful
Looms over me. He's sprung a cork, and
shales a flask on high,
'N' sings of beer that touchin' it would make
a butcher cry.
Sez he: “Berloffed kamarid, you haf some
drinks mit you.”
I meant to spike him where he waved,
but altered me intention.
'N' “If you put it thus,” sez I, “I don't
care if I do.”
We had a drink together. There's a tem-
Of hostilities to sample contraband 'n' other
In the enemy's possession. Which I think
he's had enough.
That Hun had thirty pockets, 'n' he'd stowed
a flask in each,
'N' presently I'm thinkin' I could love him
like a brother.
He's talkin' fond 'n' friendly in outlandish
parts of speech.
“You're prisoner of war,” I sez; 'n' then
we had another.
Ten flasks he pours into his hat, 'n' fills it
to the brim,
'N' weeps 'n' sez his frau she will be waitin'
up for him.
We drink each other's health, 'n' know no
henmity nor fear.
I see I've got to pinch him, but he's out to
do his div. in,
'N' don't care if he don't go home till day-
light doth appear.
Sez he: “I pud you home to bed upside dot
'ouse you live in.”
He shakes his finger in me eye: “Mein friendt,
you're preddy trunk!”
Then arm in arm through No Man's land we
does a social bunk.
There's Fear afoot. Comes more than once
the glug of sudden death.
We're rockin' fine 'n' careless where the
rifle fire is breakin',
'N' singin' most uproar'ous, in the bomb's
Of girls, 'n' drink, 'n' cheerful sprees, 'n'
'Herman thinks he's takin'
A cobber home to somewhere in an subbub
damp 'n' dim,
Whereas I know fer certain it is me is takin'
Somehow, sometime, I lands him where he's
safely put to bed.
I wake nex' day, 'n' holy smoke! I'm pri-
soner with the German.
Me mouth is like an ashpan, there's hot fish-
bolts in me head,
'N' through the barb-wire peerin' is me
foreigh cobber 'Erman.
“Ve capdure each lasd nighd,” sez he “you
home haf bring me, boss.”
For bravery in takin' me, he got the Iron
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(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
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