Dawgs of War

Henry Lawson 1867 (Grenfell) – 1922 (Sydney)

Comes the British bulldog first—solid as a log—
He’s so ugly in repose that he’s a handsome dog;
Full of mild benevolence as his years increase;
Silent as a china dog on the mantelpiece.
Rub his sides and point his nose,
Click your tongue and in he goes,
To the thick of Britain’s foes—
Enemies behind him close—
(
Silence for a while
).

Comes a very different dog—tell him at a glance.
Clipped and trimmed and frilled all round. Dandy dog of France.
(Always was a dandy dog, no matter what his age)
Now his every hair and frill is stiff as wire with rage.
Rub his sides and point his nose,
Click your tongue and in he goes,
While behind him France’s foes
Reel and surge and pack and close.
(
Silence for a while
.)

Next comes Belgium’s market dog—hard to realise.
Go-cart dog and barrow dog—he’s a great surprise.
Dog that never hurt a cat, did no person harm;
Friendly, kindly, round and fat as a “Johnny Darm.”
Rub his sides and point his nose,
Click your tongue and in he goes,
At the flank of Belgium’s foes
Who could not behind him close—
(
Silence for a while
).

Next comes Servia’s mongrel pup—mongrel dawgs can fight;
Up or down, or down or up, whether wrong or right.
He was mad the other day—he is mad today,
Hustling round and raising dust in his backyard way.
Rub his sides and point his nose,
Click your tongue and in he goes,
’Twixt the legs of Servia’s foes,
Biting tails and rearmost toes—
(
Silence for a while
.)

There are various terrier dawgs mixed up in the scrap,
Much too small for us to see, and too mad to yap.
Each one, on his frantic own—heard the row commence—
Tore with tooth and claw a hole in the backyard fence.
No one called, but in they go,
Dogs with many a nameless woe,
Tripping up their common foe—
(
Silence for a while
).

From the snows of Canada, dragging box and bale,
Comes the sledge-dog toiling on, sore-foot from the trail.
He’ll be useful in the trench, when the nose is blue—
Winter dog that knows the French and the English too.
Rub his sides and point his nose,
Click your tongue and in he goes,
At his father’s country’s foes,
And his mother’s country’s foes.
(
Silence for a while
.)

See, in sunny Southern France a dog that runs by sight,
Lean and yellow, sharp of nose, long of leg and light,
Silent and bloodthirsty, too; Distance in his eyes,
Leaping high to gain his view, the Kangaroo Dog flies!
Rub his sides and point his nose,
Click your tongue and up he goes,
Lands amongst his country’s foes—
And his country’s country’s foes;
While they sway and while they close—
(
Silence for a while
).

See across the early snow, far across the plain,
Where the clouds are grey and low and winter comes again;
By the sand-dune and the marsh—and forest black and dumb—
As dusky white as their winter’s night, the Russian wolf-hounds come!
(
Silence for a while
.)

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:40 min read
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Henry Lawson

Henry Lawson 17 June 1867 - 2 September 1922 was an Australian writer and poet Along with his contemporary Banjo Paterson Lawson is among the best-known Australian poets and fiction writers of the colonial period more…

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    "Dawgs of War" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 5 Dec. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/17779/dawgs-of-war>.

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