Thursday, April 05, 2007

292. Lance Corporal

There’s nothing further to be said.
Lookit, lads, I’m nearly dead.
Will I have a drop of whiskey? I will.

Ahh, God, that’s good. Simple and plain.
Down the red lane.
Tell me, lads, yer names again?

Is it Tom and Dick and Harry?
Hee-hee. Listen, never marry.
Never marry the first lass what asks yer!

That were a joke.

I do be old, decrepit and bollock
Naked under this here sheet,
Just like the Scots under their kilts.

Hee hee hee,
Cough, cough. Spit.
Where’s that bloody whiskey?

The parson went out after the battle,
Large and pious and smarmy,
And used his little officer’s cane
To flick over the kilts
On the bare dead buttocks,
To make it decent, like.

I had no time for him
When I were in the Army,
Nor his Tory religion.

We was sent to France
To fight for King and Country.
King never did bugger all for me,
And Country did fook all as well.
I went over because I were sent
And because of the lads, of course.

I’m a hundred fookin eleven, m’dear,
Here in this bleedin hospital,
Not thinking of heaven,
Not thinking of nothing much.
Been trying hard to forget
For ninety fookin year.

“Last Survivor Succumbs!”
The television crews
Want to put me on the News.
Them lousers ...
Let them suck their bleedin thumbs,
As me heart falls down me trousers.

Not that I’m wearing none
Under this sheet, like. Hee hee.
Are ye hiding that whiskey?

I have nothing to say.
I have nothing to say to that shower
Of cunning runts, what we call
The Highborn Ladies Running Team.
Hee hee. Pass over the bottle.
That were a joke in the Army.

I have nothing to say, lads.
I have nothing to say to them.
I have nothing to say to youse.

I have a lot I’d like to say
To Bert and Tich and Tommy G,
To Jimbo, to Fishface, to Bumblebee,
And to that pink-faced young Leftenant.
All killed. Killed dead ninety year ago
In front of me eyes. No surprise

Since it were war. Happened long ago.
So why can I remember their faces
And forget what happened yesterday?

Is that bottle dead? One last
Drop won’t kill me, but if it do,
I won’t be sad. I’d rather be dead
When reporters hover round me bed
Like carrion crows. God knows
I’ve been hanging on too long.

Whenever I close me eyes
I still see them grey Flanders skies,
And I can still see their faces.
They were so young. I was so young.
I want to sleep, ye young lads,
I want to sleep and wake up beside them.

It’s me, I’ll say,
No need to be afraid.
So sorry, boys,
I were slightly delayed.