I dropp'd here three weeks ago, yes ~ I know,
And it's bitter cold at night, since the fight ~
I could tell you if I chose ~ no one knows
Excep' me and four or five, what ain't alive
I can see them all asleep, three men deep,
And they're nowhere near a fire ~ but our wire
Has 'em fast as fast can be. Can't you see
When the flare goes up? Ssh! Boys; what's that noise?
Do you know what these rats eat? Body-meat!
After you've been down a week, 'an your cheek
Gets as pale as life, and night seems as white
As the day, only the rats and their brats
Seem more hungry when the day's gone away ~
An' they look as big as bulls, an' they pulls
Till you almost sort o' shout ~ but the drought
What you hadn't felt before makes you sore.
And at times you even think of a drink...
There's a leg acrost my thighs ~ if my eyes
Weren't too sore, I'd like to see who it be,
Wonder if I'd know the bloke if I woke? ~
Woke? By damn, I'm not asleep ~ there's a heap
Of us wond'ring why the hell we're not well...
Leastways I am ~ since I came it's the same
With the others ~ they don't know what I do,
Or they wouldn't gape and grin. ~ It's a sin
To say that Hell is hot ~ 'cause it's not:
Mind you, I know very well we're in hell.
~ In a twisted hump we lie ~ heaping high
Yes! an' higher every day. ~ Oh, I say,
This chap's heavy on my thighs ~ damn his eyes.
by Edward Tennant