Me Brother Wot Stayed at ’Ome

Original Text: 
Soldier Songs From Anzac (Melbourne: The Specialty Press Pty. Ltd., 1915): 20-24.
3I'm goin' back to Cairo,
4        To draw me bloomin' pay.
5I'm fed up with bein' a soldier,
6        So 'elp me bob, I am-
7Of chewin' mouldy biscuits
8        And eatin' bread an' jam.
10        Out on me bloomin' own,
13I'll bet he's walkin' up the street,
14        'Is chest puffed out with pride,
17And 'eres me in this bloomin' trench,
18        Where I've got to 'ide me 'ead
20        Will plug it up with lead.
21But 'e 'olds 'is 'ead up 'igh enough
22        When up the street 'e'll roam;
23There ain't no bullets over there
24        For Me Brother Wot Stayed at 'Ome.
25'E reads in the mornin' papers,
26        That the Turks are on the run;
27Then 'e brags about Australia,
28        And wot 'er boys 'ave done.
29'E shines before the barmaids,
30        'E's good at beery skitin',
31But round the corner of the street
32        Is where 'e does 'is fightin'.
33'Is dug-out's in the tap-room,
34        The bar's 'is firin' zone,
35And the billiard-cue's 'is rifle,
36        Me Brother Wot Stayed at 'Ome.
37'E's not a bad shot either
38        When 'e gets on a rabbit's track,
39And there ain't no bloomin' danger,
40        'Cause a rabbit can't shoot back.
43If 'e gets 'is peepers on yer,
44        My oath, he'll make yer sick.
45But the slacker's riskin' nothin',
46        Why, 'is 'eart 'is a frigid zone,
47An' 'is feet are bloomin' icebergs-
48        Me Brother Wot Stayed at 'Ome.
49So I'm pullin' orf me colours
50        An' slingin' me Webb away;
51I'm layin' down me rifle-
52        I don't care wot they say.
53If 'e can shirk 'is duty,
54        And won't come out and drill,
55Well, two can play the same game;
57I'm not afraid of bullets,
58        I'd 'ave died without a groan,
60        Me Brother Wot Stayed at 'Ome.
61Now, when I said to Mother,
62        ."I've volunteered to fight,."
63She said, ."God bless you, sonny,
64        And bring you back all right.."
66        A six bob a day tourist, too.
67'E says, ."You'll not reach the trenches;
68        Nor even get a view.
69You'll 'ave a bloomin' picnic
70        Across the ocean foam.."
71Still 'e wasn't game to try it,
72        Me Brother Wot Stayed at 'Ome.
73'E's playin' golf and football,
74        An' many another game,
75An' 'ere's me scrappin' for the flag
76        To keep Australia's name,
77While 'e waltzes round the ballrooms.
78'E thinks 'e's used 'is wit,
79An' he tries to pinch me tabby-
80        Gee whizz! it's time to quit.
81But when the war is over
82        'E'll reap jest what 'e's sown,
83And we'll know 'im for a coward,
84        Me Brother Wot Stayed at 'Ome.
85I'd like to 'ave 'im over 'ere,
86        Just to show 'im 'ow things are;
88        And there ain't no bloomin' bar.
89We're stuck in these bally trenches,
90        For eight days out of ten,
91And never a spell comes to us
92        'Cause we 'aven't got the men.
93An' Mr. Turk is wily,
94        'E aint' no lazy drone,
95An' 'e's twenty times as plucky
96        As Me Brother Wot Stayed at 'Ome.
98        And buckled me Webb about;
99I'm only a bloomin' private,
100        An' I've got to see it out;
101And though 'e shames 'is man'ood,
102        An' stains 'is pedigree,
103Thank God, we are still in the trenches,
104        An' we'll fight until we're free.
105But if I do get shrapnelled,
106        Though I die without a groan,
107Well, the one who's really killed me
108        Is Me Brother Wot Stayed at 'Ome.


1] orf: off. Back to Line
2] Webb: web belt (for ammunition and other gear). Back to Line
9] Turkeys: Turkish soldiers. Back to Line
11] 'Stralia: Australia. Back to Line
12] Wot: what (who). Back to Line
15] A-skitin': bragging. cobbers: mates, buddies. Back to Line
16] 'ide: hide. Back to Line
19] bally: bloody. Back to Line
41] Anzac: Australia and New Zealand Arms Corps (at Gallipoli). Back to Line
42] slick: clever. Back to Line
56] Kaiser Bill: Wilhem II, emperor of Germany (from 1888 to 1918). Back to Line
59] put the kybosh: finish off. Back to Line
65] a chocolate soldier: pacifist; cf. Oscar Straus' operetta of the same name, which opened in New York in 1909 and was based on Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man. Back to Line
87] beer and skittles: easy (skittles are bowling pins). Back to Line
97] Lee-Enfield: make of bolt-action rifle used in World War I. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire