Edward Dyson

Here you will find the Long Poem Mud of poet Edward Dyson


This war's a waste of slurry, and its at- 
mosphere is mud, 
All is bog from here to sunset. Wadin' 
We're the victims of a thicker sort of universal 
With discomforts that old Noah never knew. 

We have dubbed our trench The Cecil. 
There's a brass-plate and a dome, 
And a quagmire where the doormat used 
to be, 
If you're calling, second Tuesday is our reg'- 
lar day at home, 
So delighted if you'll toddle in to tea! 

There is mud along the corridors enough to 
bog a cow; 
In the air there hangs a musty kind of 
There's a frog-pond in the parlour, and the 
kitchen is a slough. 
She has neither doors nor windows, nor a 

When they post our bald somnambulist as 
missing from his flat 
We take soundings for the digger with a 
By the day the board is gratis, by the week 
it's half of that; 
For the season there's a corresponding drop. 

Opening off the spacious hallway is my natty 
little suite, 
A commodious and accessible abode. 
By judicious disposition, with exclusion of 
my feet, 
There is sleeping room for Oliver the toad. 

Though the ventilation's gusty, and in gobs 
the ceiling falls? 
Which with oral respiration disagrees? 
Though there comes a certain quantity of 
seepage from the walls, 
There are some I knew in diggings worse 
than these. 

On my right is Cobber Carkeek. There's a 
spring above his head, 
And his mattress is a special kind of clay. 
He's a most punctilious bloke about the 
fashion of his bed, 
And he makes it with a shovel every day. 

Man is dust. If so, the Cobber has been 
puddled up a treat. 
On domestic sanitation he's a toff, 
For he lights a fire on Sunday, bakes his sur- 
face in the heat, 
Then he takes a little maul, and cracks it 

After hanging out a winter in this Cimmerian 
We're forgetting sheets, and baths, and 
tidy skins. 
In the dark and deadly calm last night they 
took us on patrol. 
Seven, little fellows, thinking of their sins. 

It was ours like blinded snails to prowl the 
soggy, slimy night, 
With a feeler pricking out at every pore 
For the death that stalks in darkness, or the 
blinking stab of light, 
And the other trifling matters that are war. 

That's the stuff to get your liver, that's the 
acid on a man, 
For it tries his hones, and seeks his marrow 
You have got the thought to comfort you that 
life is but a span, 
If Fritz squirts his loathly limelight over 

We got back again at daybreak. Cobber 
ducked to doss and said, 
From the soft, embracing mud: ?No more 
I'll roam. 
?Oh, thank Heaven, blokes,? he murmured, 
?for the comforts of a bed! 
Gorstruth, but ain't it good to have a