Marshal Neigh, V.C.

He came from tumbled country past the
humps of Buffalo
Where the snow sits on the mountain 'n' the
Summer aches below.
He'd a silly name like Archie. Squattin'
sullen on the ship,
He knew nex' to holy nothin' through the gor-
forsaken trip.

No thoughts he had of women, no refreshin'
talk of beer;
If he'd battled, loved, or suffered vital facts
did not appear;
But the parsons and the poets couldn't teach
him to discourse
When it come to pokin' guyver at a pore,
deluded horse.

If nags got sour 'n' kicked agin the rules of
things at sea,
Artie argued matters with 'em, 'n' he'd kid
'em up a tree.
“Here's a pony got hystericks. Pipe the word
for Privit Rowe,”
The Sargint yapped, 'n' all the ship came
cluckin' to the show.

He'd chat him confidential, 'n' he'd pet 'n'
paw the moke;
He'd tickle him, 'n' flatter him, 'n' try him
with a joke;
'N' presently that neddy sobers up, 'n' sez
“Ive course,
Since you puts it that way, cobber, I will be
a better horse.”

There was one pertickler whaler, known
aboard ez Marshal Neigh,
Whose monkey tricks with Privit Rowe was
better than a play.
He'd done stunts in someone's circus, 'n' he
loved a merry bout,
Whirlin' in to bust his boiler, or to kick
the bottom out.

Rowe he sez: “Well, there's an idjit! Oh,
yes, let her whiz, you beauty!
Where's yer 'orse sense, little feller? Where's
yer bloomin' sense iv duty?
Well, you orter serve yer country!” Then
there'd come a painful hush,
'N' that nag would drop his head-piece, 'n', so
'elp me cat, he'd blush.

We was heaped ashore be Suez, rifle, horse,
'n' man, 'n' tent,
Where the land is sand, the water, 'n' the
gory firmament.
We had intervals iv longin', we had sweaty
spells of work
In the ash-pit iv Gehenner, dumbly waitin'
fer the Turk.

We goes driftin' on the desert, nothin' doin',
nothin' said,
Till we get to think we're nowhere, 'n' arf
fancy we are dead,
'N' the only 'uman interest on the red hori-
zon's brim
Is Marshal Neigh's queer faney fer the lad
that straddles him.

Plain-livin's nearly, bored us stiff. The Major
calls on Rowe
To devise an entertainment. What his
charger doesn't know
Isn't in the regulations. Him 'n' Rowe is
brothers met,
'N' that horse's sense iv humor is the oddest
fancy yet.

But the Turk arrives one mornin' on the outer
edge iv space.
From back iv things his guns is floppin' kegs
about the place,
'N' Privit Artie Rowe along with others iv
the force
Goes pig-rootin' inter battle, holdin' converse
with his horse.

Little Abdul's quite a fighter, 'n' he mixes it
with skill;
But the Anzacs have him snouted,, 'n', oh,
ma, he's feelin' ill.
They wake the all-fired desert, 'n' the land for
ever dead
Is alive 'n' fairly creepin', and the skies are
droppin' lead.

When they've got the Ot'man goin', little
gaudy hunts begin.
It fer us to chiv His Trousers. 'n' to round
the stragglers in.
Cuttin' closest to the raw, 'n' swearin' lovin'
all the way,
Is Artie from Molinga on his neddy, Marshal
Neigh.

We're pursuin' sundry camels turkey-trottin'
anyhow
With the carriage iv an emu 'n' the action iv
a cow,
When a sand dune busts, 'n' belches arf a
million iv the foe.
They uncork a blanky batt'ry, 'n' it's, Allah,
let her go!

We're not stayin' dinner, thank you. Lie
along yer horse 'n' yell,
While the bullets pip yer britches 'n' you
sniff the flue of Hell.
Here it is that Artie takes it good 'n' solid in
the crust,
He dives from out the saddle, 'n' is swallered
in the dust.

I got through 'n' saw them pointin' where the
Marshal faced the band.
He was goin' where we came from, sniffin'
bodies in the sand.
Till he found Rowe snugglin' under, took him
where his pants was slack,
'N' be all the Asiatic gods, he brought his
soldier back!

With a bullet in his buttock, 'n' a drill hole
in his ear,
He dumped Artie down among us. Square
'n' all, how did we cheer!
There's no medals struck fer neddies, but we
rule there orter be,
'N' the pride iv all the Light Horse is old
Marshal Neigh, V.C.

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"Marshal Neigh, V.C." Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 28 May 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/9567/marshal-neigh,-v.c.>.

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