Rhymes of a Red Cross ManIs it not strange? A year ago to-day,With scarce a thought beyond the hum-drum round,
I did my decent job and earned my pay;Was averagely happy, I'll be bound.
Ay, in my little groove I was content,Seeing my life run smoothly to the end,
With prosy days in stolid labour spent,And jolly nights, a pipe, a glass, a friend.
In God's good time a hearth fire's cosy gleam,A wife and kids, and all a fellow needs;
When presto! like a bubble goes my dream:I leap upon the Stage of Splendid Deeds.
I yell with rage; I wallow deep in gore:I, that was clerk in a drysalter's store.Stranger than any book I've ever read.Here on the reeking battlefield I lie,
Under the stars, propped up with smeary dead,Like too, if no one takes me in, to die.
Hit on the arms, legs, liver, lungs and gall;Damn glad there's nothing more of me to hit;
But calm, and feeling never pain at all,And full of wonder at the turn of it.
For of the dead around me three are mine,Three foemen vanquished in the whirl of fight;
So if I die I have no right to whine,I feel I've done my little bit all right.
I don't know how -- but there the beggars are,As dead as herrings pickled in a jar.And here am I, worse wounded than I thought;For in the fight a bullet bee-like stings;
You never heed; the air is metal-hot,And all alive with little flicking wings.
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