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Out Of Khaki

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



I slung me khaki suit to-day.
Civilian now front heel to chin
I 'op round on a single shin;
At home in peace I'm bound to stay.
'N' so they've took me duds away.
It 'urt like strippin' off me skin!

I put it on three years ago,
The ole brown rig. There wasn't then
A prouder chicken in the pen.
Jist twenty turned, me nibs you'd know
For how I give me chest a throw,
A man among the best of men.

Me little no the touch I give,
Me chin's ez solid ez a rock,
'N' level with the Town 'All clock,
A five-inch grin across me chiv.
“Lor' love us, this is how to live,”
Sez I, 'n' felt I owned the Block.

Glad eyes was ever on the lurk,
'N' little 'earts was thumpin' warm
For nippers trainin' with the swarm
To swat ole Kaiser Bill, or work
A toe-hold on the heathen Turk.
Fair dink, I loved the uniform!

I soused mine in the brine that day
When Tophet spilt, 'n' in the roar
Of shells that split the sea 'n' tore
Our boats to chips, we broke any
Up through the pelt of leaden spray,
'N' got our first real taste of war.

They shot me tunic all to rags;
Then in the perpendic'lar spree
Me trousers wore off to the knee.
The right-abouts of many bags
Was ground off in the dust 'n' crags
A-sittin' in Gallipoli.

I wore the khaki on the Somme-
Most time 'twas jist a coat of mud;
I once come through the battle scud
Stripped mother-naked by a bomb;
'N' once it' took its color from
Me own 'n' one good cobber's blood.

They cheered the khaki through the street
When we come home with pipers gay,
But now I'm jist a bloke in grey.
Harf-lost, lob-sided, incomplete,
It's nothin' but me spook you'll meet,
Ghost-walkin' in the light o' day.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:40 min read
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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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    Who wrote the 1916 poem "Out, Out—"?
    • A. Emily Dickinson
    • B. Robert Frost
    • C. Robert Browning
    • D. Elinor Frost