A Song Of The Sandbags

No, Bill, I'm not a-spooning out no patriotic tosh
  (The cove be'ind the sandbags ain't a death-or-glory cuss).
And though I strafes 'em good and 'ard I doesn't 'ate the Boche,
  I guess they're mostly decent, just the same as most of us.
I guess they loves their 'omes and kids as much as you or me;
  And just the same as you or me they'd rather shake than fight;
And if we'd 'appened to be born at Berlin-on-the-Spree,
  We'd be out there with 'Ans and Fritz, dead sure that we was right.

A-standin' up to the sandbags
  It's funny the thoughts wot come;
Starin' into the darkness,
  'Earin' the bullets 'um;
(Zing! Zip! Ping! Rip!
  'ark 'ow the bullets 'um!)
A-leanin' against the sandbags
  Wiv me rifle under me ear,
Oh, I've 'ad more thoughts on a sentry-go
  Than I used to 'ave in a year.

I wonder, Bill, if 'Ans and Fritz is wonderin' like me
  Wot's at the bottom of it all? Wot all the slaughter's for?
'E thinks 'e's right (of course 'e ain't) but this we both agree,
  If them as made it 'ad to fight, there wouldn't be no war.
If them as lies in feather beds while we kips in the mud;
  If them as makes their fortoons while we fights for 'em like 'ell;
If them as slings their pot of ink just 'ad to sling their blood:
  By Crust! I'm thinkin' there 'ud be another tale to tell.

Shiverin' up to the sandbags,
  With a hicicle 'stead of a spine,
Don't it seem funny the things you think
  'Ere in the firin' line:
(Whee! Whut! Ziz! Zut!
  Lord! 'ow the bullets whine!)
Hunkerin' down when a star-shell
  Cracks in a sputter of light,
You can jaw to yer soul by the sandbags
  Most any old time o' night.

They talks o' England's glory and a-'oldin' of our trade,
  Of Empire and 'igh destiny until we're fair flim-flammed;
But if it's for the likes o' that that bloody war is made,
  Then wot I say is: Empire and 'igh destiny be damned!
There's only one good cause, Bill, for poor blokes like us to fight:
  That's self-defence, for 'earth and 'ome, and them that bears our name;
And that's wot I'm a-doin' by the sandbags 'ere to-night. . . .
  But Fritz out there will tell you 'e's a-doin' of the same.

Starin' over the sandbags,
  Sick of the 'ole damn thing;
Firin' to keep meself awake,
  'Earin' the bullets sing.
(Hiss! Twang! Tsing! Pang!
  Saucy the bullets sing.)
Dreamin' 'ere by the sandbags
  Of a day when war will cease,
When 'Ans and Fritz and Bill and me
  Will clink our mugs in fraternity,
And the Brotherhood of Labour will be
  The Brotherhood of Peace.

Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)
35 Views

Translation

Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Український (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Discuss this Robert William Service poem with the community:

Citation

Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

Style:MLAChicagoAPA

"A Song Of The Sandbags" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 27 Jan. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/31962/a-song-of-the-sandbags>.

We need you!

Help us build the largest poetry community and poems collection on the web!

Other poems by

Robert William Service

»

Our favorite collection of

Famous Poets

»

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.