To Stretcher Bearers

Original Text: 
Rev. Studdert Kennedy, M.C., C.F. ("Woodbine Willy"), More Rough Rhymes of a Padre (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919): 9-10. 1919 (5) 168 Cambridge University Library
1Easy does it -- bit o' trench 'ere,
3There's a shell 'ole on your left there,
4Lift 'im up a little 'igher.
5Stick it, lad, ye'll soon be there now,
6Want to rest 'ere for a while?
8There ye are, lad. That's the style.
9Want a drink, mate? 'Ere's my bottle,
10Lift 'is 'ead up for 'im, Jack,
11Put my tunic underneath 'im,
13Guess we'd better make a start now,
14Ready for another spell?
15Best be goin', we won't 'urt ye,
16But 'e might just start to shell.
17Are ye right, mate? Off we goes then.
18That's well over on the right,
19Gawd Almighty, that's a near 'un!
20'Old your end up good and tight,
22Mind this rotten bit o' board.
23We'll soon 'ave ye tucked in bed, lad,
25No more war for you, my 'earty,
26This'll get ye well away,
27Twelve good months in dear old Blighty,
28Twelve good months if you're a day,
30What'll stop that blarsted pain.
31'Ere's a rotten bit o' ground, mate,
32Lift up 'igher -- up again,
33Wish 'e'd stop 'is blarsted shellin'
34Makes it rotten for the lad.
35When a feller's been and got it,
36It affec's 'im twice as bad.
37'Ow's it goin' now then, sonny?
38'Ere's that narrow bit o' trench,
40Lawd Almighty, what a stench!
41'Ere we are now, stretcher-case, boys,
42Bring him aht a cup o' tea!
43Inasmuch as ye have done it

Notes

2] blinkin': mild swear word. Back to Line
7] dahn: down. Back to Line
12] tack: way. Back to Line
21] Blighty: England, home. Back to Line
24] ward: hospital room with multiple patient beds. Back to Line
29] M.O.: medical officer. Back to Line
39] Jerries: German soldiers. Back to Line
44] From Jesus' description of the last judgment, especially Matthew 25: 34-40:
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
for I was ahungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee ahungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
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Publication Start Year: 
1919
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2003