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A poem by A. A. Milne

Gold Braid

Title:     Gold Braid
Author: A. A. Milne [More Titles by Milne]

Same old crossing, same old boat,
Same old dust round Rouen way,
Same old narsty one-franc note,
Same old "Mercy, sivvoo play";
Same old scramble up the line,
Same old 'orse-box, same old stror,
Same old weather, wet or fine,
Same old blooming War.

_Ho Lor, it isn't a dream,
It's just as it used to be, every bit;
Same old whistle and same old bang,
And me out again to be 'it._

'Twas up by Loos I got me first;
I just dropped gently, crawled a yard
And rested sickish, with a thirst--
The 'eat, I thought, and smoking 'ard....
Then someone 'ands me out a drink,
What poets call "the cooling draft,"
And seeing 'im I done a think:
"_Blighty,"_ I thinks--and laughed.

I'm not a soldier nacheral,
No more than most of us to-day;
I runs a business with a pal
(Meaning the Missis) Fulham way;
Greengrocery--the cabbages
And fruit and things I take meself,
And she has dafts and crocuses
A-smiling on a shelf.

"Blighty," I thinks. The doctor knows;
'E talks of punctured damn-the-things.
It's me for Blighty. Down I goes;
I ain't a singer, but I sings.
"Oh, 'oo goes 'ome?" I sort of 'ums;
"Oh, 'oo's for dear old England's shores?"
And by-and-by Southampton comes--
"Blighty!" I says, and roars.

I s'pose I thort I done my bit;
I s'pose I thort the War would stop;
I saw meself a-getting fit
With Missis at the little shop;
The same like as it used to be,
The same old markets, same old crowd,
The same old marrers, same old me,
But 'er as proud as proud....

* * * * *

The regiment is where it was,
I'm in the same old ninth platoon;
New faces most, and keen becos
They thinks the thing is ending soon;
I ain't complaining, mind, but still,
When later on some newish bloke
Stops one and laughs, "A blighty, Bill,"
I'll wonder, "Where's the joke?"

Same old trenches, same old view,
Same old rats as blooming tame,
Same old dug-outs, nothing new,
Same old smell, the very same,
Same old bodies out in front,
Same old _strafe_ from 2 till 4,
Same old scratching, same old 'unt.
Same old bloody War.

_Ho Lor, it isn't a dream,
It's just as it used to be, every bit;
Same old whistle and same old bang.
And me to stay 'ere till I'm 'it._

[The end]
A. A. Milne's poem: Gold Braid