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The Whistle Of Sandy McGraw Analysis

Author: Poetry of Robert Service Type: Poetry Views: 130

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Rhymes of a Red Cross ManYou may talk o' your lutes and your dulcimers fine,Your harps and your tabors and cymbals and a',

But here in the trenches jist gie me for mineThe wee penny whistle o' Sandy McGraw.

Oh, it's: "Sandy, ma lad, will you lilt us a tune?"And Sandy is willin' and trillin' like mad;

Sae silvery sweet that we a' throng aroun',And some o' it's gay, but the maist o' it's sad.

Jist the wee simple airs that sink intae your hert,And grup ye wi' love and wi' longin' for hame;

And ye glour like an owl till you're feelin' the stertO' a tear, and you blink wi' a feelin' o' shame.

For his song's o' the heather, and here in the dirtYou listen and dream o' a land that's sae braw,

And he mak's you forget a' the harm and the hurt,For he pipes like a laverock, does Sandy McGraw.* * * * *At Eepers I mind me when rank upon rankWe rose from the trenches and swept like the gale,

Till the rapid-fire guns got us fell on the flankAnd the murderin' bullets came swishin' like hail:

Till a' that were left o' us faltered and broke;Till it seemed for a moment a panicky rout,

When shrill through the fume and the flash and the smokeThe wee valiant voice o' a whistle piped out.

`The Campbells are Comin'': Then into the frayWe bounded wi' bayonets reekin' and raw,

And oh we fair revelled in glory that day,Jist thanks to the whistle o' Sandy McGraw.* * * * *At Loose, it wis after a sconnersome fecht,On the field o' the slain I wis crawlin' aboot;

And the rockets were burnin' red holes in the nicht;And the guns they were veciously thunderin' oot;

When sudden I heard a bit sound like a sigh,And there in a crump-hole a kiltie I saw:

"Whit ails ye, ma lad? Are ye woundit?" says I."I've lost ma wee whustle," says Sandy McGraw.

"'Twas oot by yon bing where we pressed the attack,It drapped frae ma pooch, and between noo and dawn

There isna much time so I'm jist crawlin' back. . . .""Ye're daft, man!" I telt him, but Sandy wis gone.

Weel, I waited a wee, then I crawled oot masel,And the big stuff wis gorin' and roarin' around,

And I seemed tae be under the oxter o' hell,And Creation wis crackin' tae bits by the sound.

And I says in ma mind: "Gang ye back, ye auld fule!"When I thrilled tae a note that wis saucy and sma';

And there in a crater, collected and cool,Wi' his wee penny whistle wis Sandy McGraw.

Ay, there he wis playin' as gleg as could be,And listenin' hard wis a spectacled Boche;

Then Sandy turned roon' and he noddit tae me,And he says: "Dinna blab on me, Sergeant McTosh.

The auld chap is deein'. He likes me tae play.It's makin' him happy. Jist see his een shine!"

And thrillin' and sweet in the hert o' the frayWee Sandy wis playin'


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