In die weermag…

Om een of ander onverklaarbare rede bly hierdie gediggie vandag in my kop maal. Ek het die laaste twee verse die afgelope week in drie verskillende boeke raakgelees… Miskien moet ek hom maar uit die gestel uit kry.

The Young British Soldier

 When the ‘arf-made recruity goes out to the East

 ‘E acts like a babe an’ ‘e drinks like a beast,

 An’ ‘e wonders because ‘e is frequent deceased

 Ere ‘e’s fit for to serve as a soldier.

       Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,

       Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,

       Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,

          So-oldier _of_ the Queen!

 Now all you recruities what’s drafted to-day,

 You shut up your rag-box an’ ‘ark to my lay,

 An’ I’ll sing you a soldier as far as I may:

 A soldier what’s fit for a soldier.

       Fit, fit, fit for a soldier . . .

 First mind you steer clear o’ the grog-sellers’ huts,

 For they sell you Fixed Bay’nets that rots out your guts —

 Ay, drink that ‘ud eat the live steel from your butts —

 An’ it’s bad for the young British soldier.

       Bad, bad, bad for the soldier . . .

 When the cholera comes — as it will past a doubt —

 Keep out of the wet and don’t go on the shout,

 For the sickness gets in as the liquor dies out,

 A’ it crumples the young British soldier.

       Crum-, crum-, crumples the soldier . . .

 But the worst o’ your foes is the sun over’ead:

 You must wear your ‘elmet for all that is said:

 If ‘e finds you uncovered ‘e’ll knock you down dead,

 An’ you’ll die like a fool of a soldier.

       Fool, fool, fool of a soldier . . .

 If you’re cast for fatigue by a sergeant unkind,

 Don’t grouse like a woman nor crack on nor blind;

 Be handy and civil, and then you will find

 That it’s beer for the young British soldier.

       Beer, beer, beer for the soldier . . .

 Now, if you must marry, take care she is old —

 A troop-sergeant’s widow’s the nicest I’m told,

 For beauty won’t help if your rations is cold,

 Nor love ain’t enough for a soldier.

       ‘Nough, ‘nough, ‘nough for a soldier . . .

 If the wife should go wrong with a comrade, be loath

 To shoot when you catch ’em — you’ll swing, on my oath! —

 Make ‘im take ‘er and keep ‘er:  that’s Hell for them both,

 An’ you’re shut o’ the curse of a soldier.

       Curse, curse, curse of a soldier . . .

 When first under fire an’ you’re wishful to duck,

 Don’t look nor take ‘eed at the man that is struck,

 Be thankful you’re livin’, and trust to your luck

 And march to your front like a soldier.

       Front, front, front like a soldier . . .

 When ‘arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,

 Don’t call your Martini a cross-eyed old bitch;

 She’s human as you are — you treat her as sich,

 An’ she’ll fight for the young British soldier.

       Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .

 When shakin’ their bustles like ladies so fine,

 The guns o’ the enemy wheel into line,

 Shoot low at the limbers an’ don’t mind the shine,

 For noise never startles the soldier.

       Start-, start-, startles the soldier . . .

 If your officer’s dead and the sergeants look white,

 Remember it’s ruin to run from a fight:

 So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,

 And wait for supports like a soldier.

       Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

 When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,

 And the women come out to cut up what remains,

 Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains

 An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

       Go, go, go like a soldier,

       Go, go, go like a soldier,

       Go, go, go like a soldier,

          So-oldier _of_ the Queen!

Rudyard Kipling

2 thoughts on “In die weermag…

    (A Soldier Died Today)

    He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
    And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
    Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
    In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

    And tho’ sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
    All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
    But we’ll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
    And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

    He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
    For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
    Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
    And the world won’t note his passing, though a soldier died today.

    When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
    While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
    Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
    But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

    Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
    A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
    Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
    Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

    A politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives
    Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
    While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
    Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

    It’s so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,
    That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
    It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
    Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

    Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
    Would you want a politician with his ever‐shifting stand?
    Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
    His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

    He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
    But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
    For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part
    Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

    If we cannot do him honor while he’s here to hear the praise,
    Then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
    Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
    Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.

    © 1987 A. Lawrence Vaincourt

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