Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Spirit - Woodbine Willie

When there ain't no gal to kiss you,
And the postman seems to miss you,
And the fags have skipped an issue,
Carry on.

When ye've got an empty belly,
And the bulley's rotten smelly,
And you're shivering like a jelly,
Carry on.

When the Boche has done your chum in,
And the sergeant's done the rum in,
And there ain't no rations comin',
Carry on.

When the world is red and reeking,
And the shrapnel shells are shrieking,
And your blood is slowly leaking,
Carry on.

When the broken battered trenches,
Are like the bloody butchers' benches,
And the air is thick with stenches,
Carry on.

Carry on,
Though your pals are pale and wan,
And the hope of life is gone,
Carry on.
For to do more than you can,
Is to be a British man,
Not a rotten 'also ran,'
Carry on.

Woodbine Willie (Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy) (1883 - 1929) England
Source: Virtual Seminars for Teaching Literature
This ironic poem was published in the satirical Wipers Times, an amateur newspaper produced by and for the troops on the front line during WWI. Kennedy got his nickname from his habit of passing out Woodbine cigarettes to the troops (he was a wartime chaplain).

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