Edward Dyson

Here you will find the Long Poem In Hospital of poet Edward Dyson

In Hospital

It is thirty moons since I slung me hook 
From the job at the hay and corn, 
Took me solemn oath, 'n' I straight forsook 
All the ways of life, dinkum ways 'n' crook, 
'N' the things on which it was good to look 
Since the day when a bloke was born. 

I was give a gun, 'n' a bay'net bright, 
'N' a 'ell of a swag iv work, 
N' I dipped my lid to the big pub light, 
To the ole push cobbers I give ?Good-night!? 
Slipped a kiss to 'er, 'n' I wings me flight 
For a date with the demon Turk. 

Ez we pricked our heel to the skitin' drum. 
Square 'n' all, I was gone a mile. 
With a perky air, 'n' a 'eart ez glum 
Ez a long-dead cod, I was blind 'n' dumb, 
Holdin' do the tear that was bound to come 
At a word or a friendly smile. 

Now I've seen it all, I may come out dead, 
But I 'ope never more a fool. 
I have scorched, 'n' thirsted, 'n' froze, 'n' 
'N' bin taught the use of the human head, 
For when all is done 'n' when all is said, 
War's a wonderful sort of school. 

I've bin taught to get 'em 'n' never fret, 
'N' to sleep without dreamin' when 
We have swarmed a slope with the red rain wet; 
I 'ave learned a pile, 'n' I'm learnin' yet; 
But the thing I've learned that I won't forget 
Is a way of not judgin' men. 

We was shot down there in a dirty place? 
From the mansions 'n' huts we'd come? 
'N' of all the welter the 'ardest case 
Was a little swine with a dimpled face, 
Who a year ago was dispensin' lace 
In a Carlton em-por-ee-um. 

In the moochin' days of me giddy youth, 
When I kidded meself a treat, 
I'd have pass him one ez a gooey. 'Strewth 
On the track iv Huns, he's a eight-day sleuth, 
'N' at tearin' into 'em nail 'n' tooth 
He's got Julius Caesar beat! 

I ain't proud with him ; 'n' I'm modest, too, 
When dividin' a can of swill 
With a Algy boy from the wilds iv Kew. 
Cos I do not know what the cow will do 
When a Fritzy offers to sock me through; 
'N' it's good to be livin' still. 

There you are, you see! Oh! it makes you sore, 
When a bloke you despised at 'ome 
In them pifflin' days of the years before 
Takes a odds-on chance with the God of War, 
'N' he tows you out with his left lung tore, 
'N' a crack in his bleedin' dome! 

'Twas a lad called Hugh done ez much for me. 
(He has curls 'n' he's fair 'n' slim). 
Well, I mind the days in the Port when we 
Puts it over Hugh coz we don't agree 
With his tone 'n' style, 'n' my foot was free 
When the push made a hack of him. 

Now he's paid me back. I had struck a snag, 
And must creep through the battle spume 
All a flamin' age, with a grinnin' jag 
In me thigh, for water, or jest a fag. 
Like a crippled snake I was forced to drag 
Shattered flesh till the crack of doom. 

When they saw me he was the one who came. 
'N' he give me a raffish grin 
'N' a swig. I wasn't so bad that shame 
Didn't get me then, for the lad was lame. 
They had passed him his, but his 'art was game. 
'N' he coughed ez he brought me in. 

I have tackled God on me bended knees, 
So He'll save him alive 'n' whole, 
For the sake of one who he thinks he sees 
When the Nurse's hands bring a kind of ease; 
And I thank God, too, for the things like these 
That have give me a sort of soul. 

There are Percies, Algies, 'n' Claudes I've met 
Who could take it 'n' come agen, 
While the bullets flew in a screamin' jet. 
What in pain, 'n' death, and in mire 'n' sweat 
I 'ave learned from them that I won't forget 
Is a way of not judgin' men.