The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
To Mr. Macpherson
To Mr. Macpherson.
(Mr Macpherson states that there are still some officers serving at home who have not yet seen service oversea, but that steps are being taken to replace them by officers from France who need rest. The War Office is considering the question of getting rid of some of the unfit officers, that officers with prolong ed service oversea to then creditor convalescent from wounds or sickness, may be employed at home—"Times", London.)
Say, what about a billet in yer office, Mister Mac?
For coves who carry bigger loads than Sam Brownes on the back;
For battered blokes who've plugged along and battled through the brunt,
And never 'ad old Buckley's chance for this' ere 'oming stunt.
Australia don t seem keen to give 'er "fourteen" men a chance;
'Er politicians only yap 'er motto to advance;
They dilly-dally with their job of dishing out a pack
To those who'd reinforce us—give us 'opes of going back.
So what about a billet in yer office, Mister Mac?
We've melted down to skin and bone, we've dimmed each shiny eye,
Got crows-feet in the corners squinting over Sinai.
Our shoulder blades are cutting through our loaded bandoliers;
We've gained a blood-shot, beefy look with "buhy" all these years.
We're weary, slowly withering—a parched up, perished 'eap;
We're sinking, slowly slithering away for want of sleep.
Our legs seem lined with leather through long friction on the 'ack,
We've only bones to sit on where the legs fix in the back.
So what about a cushion in yer office, Mister Mac?
We've journeyed through Jerusalem to far-off Jericho,
Where mothers, when we worried 'em as kids, wished we would go.
We've seen no milk and 'oney that sky pilots preach about,
Bar ' Ideal" milk on issue, and the bees are never out 1
We 'aven't 'eard a buzzer, not a "wahad" bally bee!
But 'ope to catch some cockles in the Sea of Galilee.
Our stomach-skin is sagging but we reef in all the slack,
A belt wrapped twice around it warms the marrow in the back.
We'd like to 'ave a luncheon in yer office, Mister Mac!
We've seen no roaring lions, which gave Samson such a stunt,
But when we search for smaller game we 'aven't far to 'unt!
We've cursed the stabbing skeeters raiding unprotected flanks,
A weary band of Billjims on the Jordan's muddy banks;
Where the stench of war arises in the cause of Victory,
By an 'oly river running to a Dead and bitter
Sea. It ain't the bullets 'umming or our old opponent
Jack That turns our thinking 'omewards on a far-off
Southern track; It's just an easy armchair in yer office, Mister Mac.
We've barked and bent our "skinny shins on Judah's stony rocks,
And wept compassion's bitter tears on ribs of bony crocks.
We've drunk from Jordan waters, with sad colicky results,
And prayed for something stronger for us frolicky adults.
We're fed up seeing dusky bints and toothless Arab hags,
And picture maids of fairer tints in smoke of issue fags.
We'd like to see some "Blighty" girls when time is running slack,
And spin 'em yarns of Palestine—they've 'eard about Anzac.
We'd like to tell yer typist in yer office, Mister Mac!
We've sympathy for Moses who 'ad one last longing look
At Israel's cussed selection— there's no wonder 'e took crook!
We've seen the slums of Jaffa, and the flies and dust of Ludd,
And washed our dirty faces in the Jordan's muddy flood.
If this is that great Promised Land, once offered to the Jew,
We'd sooner live in Laplander Siberia would do.
So if you've any officers who 'aven't done their whack,
Just punt 'em out to Palestine—they've surely earned the sack;
And let us pitch our Divvies in yer office, Mister Mac.