Before the War

'Before the war,' she sighs. 'Before the war.'
Then blinks 'er eyes, an' tries to work a smile.
'Ole scenes,' she sez, 'don't look the same no more.
Ole ways,' she sez, 'seems to 'ave changed their style.
The pleasures that we had don't seem worth while
Them simple joys that passed an hour away
An' troubles, that we used to so revile,
'Ow small they look', she sez. ''Ow small today.

'This war!' sighs ole Mar Flood. An' when I seen
The ole girl sittin' in our parlour there,
Tellin' 'er troubles to my wife Doreen.
As though the talkin' eased 'er load 'uv care,
I thinks uv mothers, 'ere and everywhere,
Smilin' a bit while they are grievin' sore
For grown-up babies, fightin' Over There;
An' then I 'ears 'em sigh, 'Before the war.'

My wife 'as took the social 'abit bad.
I ain't averse - one more new word I've learned
Averse to tea, when tea is to be 'ad;
An' when it comes I reckon that it's earned.
It's jist a drink, as fur as I'm concerned,
Good for a bloke that toilin' on the land;
But when a caller comes, 'ere am I turned
Into a social butterfly, off-'and.

Then drinkin' tea becomes a 'oly rite.
So's I won't bring the family to disgrace
I guts a bit 'uv coachin' overnight
On ridin' winners in this bun-fed race.
I 'ave to change me shirt, an' wash me face,
An' look reel neat, from me waist up at least,
An sling remarks in at the proper place,
An' not makes noises drinkin', like a beast.

''Ave some more cake. Another slice, now do.
An' won't yeh 'ave a second cup uv tea?
'Ow is the children?' Ar, it makes me blue!
This boodoor 'abit ain't no good to me.
I likes to take me tucker plain an' free:
Tea an' a chunk out on the job for choice,
So I can stoke with no one there to see.
Besides, I 'aven't got no comp'ny voice.

Uv course, I've 'ad it all out with the wife.
I argues that there's work that must be done.
An' tells 'er that I 'ates this tony life.
She sez there's jooties that we must not shun.
You bet that ends it; so I joins the fun,
An' puts 'em all at ease with silly grins
Slings bits uv repartee like ''Ave a bun,'
An' passes bread an' butter, for my sins.

Since I've been marri'd, say, I've chucked some things,
An' learned a whole lot more to fill the space.
I've slung all slang; crook words 'ave taken wings,
An' I 'ave learned to entertain with grace.
But when ole Missus Flood comes round our place
I don't object to 'er, for all 'er sighs;
Becos I likes 'er ways, I likes 'er face,
An', most uv all, she 'as them mother's eyes.

'Before the war,' she sighs, the poor ole girl.
'Er talk it gets me thinkin' in between,
While I'm assistin' at this social whirl. . . .
She comes across for comfort to Doreen,
To talk about the things that might 'ave been
If Syd 'ad not been killed at Suvla Bay,
Or Jim had not done a bunk at seventeen,
An' not been heard uv since 'e went away.

They 'ave a little farm right next to us
'Er and 'er husband - where they live alone.
Spite uv 'er cares, she ain't the sort to fuss
Or serve up sudden tears an' sob an' moan,
An' since I've known 'er some'ow I 'ave grown
To see in 'er, an' all the grief she's bore,
A million brave ole mothers 'oo 'ave known
Deep sorrer since them days before the war.

'Before the war,' she sez. 'Yeh mind our Syd?
Poor lad. . . . But then, yeh never met young Jim
'Im 'oo was charged with things 'e never did.
Ah, both uv you'd 'ave been reel chums with 'im.
'Igh-spirited 'e was, a perfect limb.
It's six long years now since 'e went away
Ay, drove away.' 'Er poor ole eyes git dim.
'That was,' she sighs, 'that was me blackest day.

'Me blackest day! Wot am I sayin' now?
That was the day the parson came to tell
The news about our Syd. . . . An', yet, some'ow . . . .
My little Jim!' She pauses for a spell. . . .
'Your 'olly'ocks is doin' reely well,'
She sez, an' battles 'ard to brighten up.
'An' them there pinks uv yours, 'ow sweet they smell.
An' - Thanks! I think I will 'ave one more cup.'

As fur as I can get the strength uv it,
Them Floods 'ave 'ad a reel tough row to how.
First off, young Jim, 'oo plays it high a bit,
Narks the ole man a treat, an' slings the show.
The come the war, an' Syd 'e 'as to go.
'E run 'is final up at Suvla Bay
One uv the Aussies I was proud to know.
An' Jim's cracked 'ardy since 'e went away.

'Er Jim! These mothers! Lord, they're all the same.
I wonders if Doreen will be that kind.
Syd was the son 'oo played the reel man's game;
But Jim 'oo sloped an' left no
Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)
27 Views

Translation

Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

Select another language:

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

Discuss this Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis poem with the community:

Citation

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

Style:MLAChicagoAPA

"Before the War" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 19 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6215/before-the-war>.

We need you!

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

Other poems by

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

»

Our favorite collection of

Famous Poets

»

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.