Edward George Dyson 1865 (Ballarat, Victoria) – 1931 (Saint Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria)

Dear Ned, I now take up my pen to write
you these few lines,
And hopin' how they find you fit. Gorbli',
it seems an age
Since Jumbo ducked the Port, 'n' drilled 'n'
polished to the nines,
He walked his pork on Collins like a hero off
the stage,
Then hiked a rifle 'cross the sea this bleedin'
war to wage.

The things what's 'appened lately calls to
Jumbo's mind that day
Our push took on the Peewee pack, 'n'
belted out their lard,
With twenty cops to top it off. But now I'm
stowed away,
A bullet in me gizzard where I took it good
and hard,
A-dealin'-stoush 'n' mullock to the Prussian
flamin' Guard.

At Bullcoor mortal charnce had dumped a
mutton-truck of us
From good ole Port ker-flummox where we
didn't orter be,
All in a 'elpless hole-the Pug, Bill Carkeek,
Son, 'n' Gus,
Don, Steve, 'n' Jack, 'n' seven more, 'n', as
it 'appens, me,
With nothin' in since breakfast, 'n' a week
to go for tea.

Worked loose from Caddy's bunch, we went
it gay until we found
We'd took to 'arf the ragin' German Hempire
on our own.
Then down we went so 'umble, with our noses
in the ground,
Takin' cover in the rubble. If a German head
was shown
It was fare-the-well to Herman with a bullet
through the bone.

We slogged the cows remorseless, 'n' they
laid for us a treat.
We held that stinkin' cellar, though, 'n' when
the day was done
Son pussied on his bingie where a Maxie trim
'n' neat
Had spit out loaded lightnin', and he slugged
a tubby Hun,
Then choked a Fritzie with his dukes, 'n'
pinched the sooner's gun!

We rigged her on her knuckle-bones. Cri',
how she lapped 'em up!
We hosed 'em out with livin' lead. That was
the second day.
Me left eye I'd 'ave give for jest a bubble in a
Three fingers I'd 'ave parted for a bone I've
flung away;
But the butcher wasn't callin', 'n' the fountain
didn't play.

T'was rotten mozzle, Neddo. We had blown
out ever clip,
'N' 'blooed the hammunition for the little box
of tricks.
Each took a batten in his fist. Sez Billy
“Let 'er rip!”
But Son he claws his stubble. Sez—he:
“Hold a brace of ticks.”
Then “Yow!” he pipes 'n' “Strewth!” he
sez, “it's bricks, you blighters,

There's more than 'arf a million spilt where
somethin' hit a pub;
We creeps among 'n' sorts 'em, stack afore,
'n' stack behind;
The Hun is comin' at us with his napper like
a tub—
You couldn't 'ope to miss it, pickled, par-
alysed, 'n' blind.
Sez Sonny: “Lay 'em open! Give 'em
blotches on the rind!”

Then bricks was flyin' in the wind. Mine
dinted Otto's chin;
Ole Nosey got his brother, which he never
more will roam.
When Ulrich stopped a Port bookay he rolled
his alley in.
Their fire was somethin' fierce. Poor Son
was blowin' blood 'n' foam,
“Fill up,” he coughs, “'n' plug 'em! S'elp
me Gord, we're goin' 'ome!”

With bricks we drove right at 'em 'n' we
wanged 'em best we could.
'Twas either bed 'n' breakfast or a scribble
and a wreath.
Haynes bust a Prussian's almond, took the
bay'net where he stood,
Then heaved his last 'arf-Brunswick, split
the demon's grinnin' teeth,
And Son went down in glory, with a German

We'd started out with gibbers in our clobber
and our 'ats.
They gave us floatin' lead enough to stop an
army cor.
We yelled like fiends, 'n' countered with a
lovely flight of bats,
Then rushed in close formation, heavin' cot-
tages, n' tore
Through blinded, bleedin' Bosches, 'n' lor
love yeh, it was war!

We came peltin', headfirst, 'elpless, in a drain
among a lot
Of dirty, damned old Tommies (Gord! The
best that ever blew!)
Eight left of us, all punctured, each man
holdin' what he'd got.
Me wild, a rat hole in me lung, but in me
mauley, too,
A bull-nosed brick with whiskers where no
whiskers ever grew.

There's nothin' doin' now. I wear me blan-
kets like a toff.
The way this fat nurse pets me, strewth, it's
well to be so sick,
A-dreamin' of our contract 'n' the way we
pulled it off.
I reckon Haig is phonin' Hughes: “Hullo,
there, Billy. Quick—
A dozen of the pushes and a thousan' tons
of brick!”

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

3:55 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 4,014
Words 755
Stanzas 13
Stanza Lengths 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 11, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

Edward George Dyson

Edward George Dyson, or 'Ted' Dyson, was an Australian journalist, poet, playwright and short story writer. He was the elder brother of illustrators Will Dyson (1880–1938) and Ambrose Dyson (1876–1913), with three sisters also of artistic and literary praise. Dyson wrote under several – some say many – nom-de-plumes, including Silas Snell. In his day, the period of Australia's federation, the poet and writer was 'ranked very closely to Australia's greatest short-story writer, Henry Lawson'. With Lawson known as the 'swagman poet', Ogilvie the 'horseman poet', Dyson was the 'mining poet'. Although known as a freelance writer, he was also considered part of The Bulletin writer group. more…

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