[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
A Royal Cracksman

When the housebreaking business is slack
And cracksmen are finding it slow
For all the sea-siders are back
And a great many more didn't go
Here's excellent news from the front
And joy in Bill Sikes's brigade;
Things are looking up since
The German Crown Prince
Has been giving a fillip to trade.

His methods are quite up-to-date,
Displaying adroitness and dash ;
What he wants he collects in a crate,
What he doesn't he's careful to smash.
An historical chateau in France
With Imperial ardour he loots,
Annexing the best
And erasing the rest
With the heels of his soldierly boots.

Sikes reads the report with applause,
It's quite an inspiring affair;
But a sudden idea gives him pause
The Germans must stop over there!
So he flutters a Union Jack
To help to keep Englishmen steady,
Remarking, ' His nibs
Mustn't crack English cribs,
The profession is crowded already.'

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
Captive Conquerors

(It is reported that women in Stuttgart have been forbidden by military proclamation to cast amorous glances on the British prisoners.)

Oh! Stuttgart Frauleins, and capacious Fraus,
What shocking news is this that filters through?
Have you been fostering domestic rows
By casting, naughtily, glad eyes of blue
At poor old Tommy in his prison-house?
Tut! tut! This is a pretty how-d'ye do!

Anna and Gretchen, where's your strength of mind?
Think of that khaki crowd whose force of arms
Bustles your goose-step legions from behind;
These very captives should inspire alarms.
You are indeed disloyal and unkind
To fall a prey to their dishevelled charms.

The gods have come among you, I admit,
To make your jealous Herren fume and fuss.
Unkempt, unshaven, rather short of kit,
The prisoners attract you even thus.
But, Fraus and Frauleins, what's the use of it?
Their hearts, please understand, belong to us!

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

The call came in the stormy night,
Beneath a stranger's sky.
The soldier of a life-long fight,
Still fighting, went to die.

His country's honour was his goal;
Patient, unswerving, brave,
His mind, his heart, his work, his soul
His very all, he gave.

He toiled to rouse us from our sleep,
And now he takes his rest,
And we it is not ours to weep,
But follow his behest.

'Tis ours to make this matter plain
That though our 'Bobs' has gone,
Though dust returns to dust again
His soul goes marching on.

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
A Humble Appeal
(The Blue Cross League, 58 Victoria Street, London, S.W., is in need of funds.)

She was a pretty, nicely mannered mare,
The children's pet, the master's pride and care,
Until a man in khaki came one day,
Looked at her teeth, and hurried her away.

With other horses packed into a train
She hungered for her master's voice in vain;
And later, led 'twixt planks that scare and slip,
They slung her, terrified, on board a ship.

Next came, where thumps and throbbing filled the air,
Her first experience of mal de mare;
And when that oscillating trip was done
They hitched her up in traces to a gun.

She worked and pulled and sweated with the best;
A stranger now her glossy coat caressed
Till flashing thunderstorms came bursting round
And spitting leaden hail bestrewed the ground.

With quivering limbs, and silky ears laid back,
She feels a shock succeed a sharper crack,
And, whinnying her pitiful surprise,
Staggers and falls, and tries in vain to rise.

Alone, forsaken, on a foreign field
What moral does this little record yield?
Who tends the wounded horses in the war?
Well that is what the Blue Cross League is for.

By Jessie Pope

The Blue Cross opens WWI horse archive
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

When Blucher helped us make an end
Of Bonaparte, the common foe,
He came to England as a friend,
About a hundred years ago.
The sight of London fired his breast,
He gazed with eagerness and wonder,
And, brimming with Teutonic zest,
He cried, "Oh, what a town to plunder!"

Der Tag, however, was not yet.
A century has passed away.
Blucher has settled Nature's debt,
But his example lives to-day
And kindles in the German mind
An altar that there's no uprooting,
Where love of power is enshrined,
Together with a love of looting.

They spoil and pillage, smash and swill;
And helpless cities they have racked
Must, willy nilly, pay the bill
For the delight of being sacked,
That motto "Blood and Iron" is done ;
A newer one must be enscrolled ;
The carte de visite of the Hun
Should now be printed, "Blood and Gold."

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
Lights Out

Darkness expectant, discreet
Only a lamp here and there,
Gloom in the clattering street,
Stygian black in the square;
Dazzling fascias and fronts,
Scintillant sky-scrapers banished,
Snuffed and shut down are the spangles of Town.
London has vanished.

Only a few months ago
London woke up every night;
Dances or "Chemin" or Show,
Festival vistas of light.
Everywhere glitter and glare,
Junket and revelry keeping.
Yes, but despite the laughter and light,
London was sleeping.

Searchlights are probing the skies,
Eastward their streamers are trailed;
Masked are the city's bright eyes
Even the tramcars are veiled.
Cockneys turn in at eleven,
"Stop Press" thirst finally slaked.
Turn the lights out. Now, without doubt,
London's awake!

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The K.A. Boys

Dr-rud dr-rud dr-rud dr-rud
Kitchener's Army on the march
Through Marylebone and Marble Arch,
Men in motley, so to speak,
Been in training about a week,
Swinging easy, toe and heel,
Game and gay, and keen as steel.

Dr-rud dr-rud dr-rud dr-rud
Norfolk jackets, city suits,
Some in shoes and some in boots ;
Clerk and sportsman, tough and nut,
Reach-me-downs and Bond-Street cut ;
Typical kit of every kind,
To show the life they've left behind.

Dr-rud dr-rud dr-rud dr-rud
Marching by at an easy pace,
The great adventure in every face.
Raw if you like, but full of grit,
Snatching the chance to do their bit.
Oh, I want to cheer and I want to cry
When Kitchener's Boys go marching by.

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Who's for the trench
Are you, my laddie?
Who'll follow the French-
Will you, my laddie?
Who's fretting to begin,
Who's going out to win?
And who wants to save his skin
Do you, my laddie?

Who's for the khaki suit
Are you, my laddie?
Who longs to charge and shoot
Do you, my laddie?
Who's keen on getting fit,
Who means to show his grit,
And who'd rather wait a bit
Would you, my laddie?

Who'll earn the Empire's thanks
Will you, my laddie?
Who'll swell the victor's ranks
Will you, my laddie?
When that procession comes,
Banners and rolling drums
Who'll stand and bite his thumbs
Will you, my laddie?

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Nut's Birthday

When Gilbert’s birthday came last spring,
Oh! How our brains were racked
To try to find a single thing
Our languid dear one lacked;
For, since he nestled at his ease
Upon the lap of Plenty,
Stock birthday presents failed to please
The Nut of two and twenty.

And so we bought to suit his taste –
Refined and dilettante –
Some ormolu, grotesquely chased;
A little bronze Bacchante;
A flagon of the Stuart’s reign.
A ‘Corot’ to content him.
Well, now his birthday’s come again,
And this is what we sent him.

Some candles and a bar of soap,
Cakes, peppermints and matches,
A pot of jam, some thread (like rope)
For stitching khaki patches.
These gifts our soldier writes to say,
Have brought him untold riches
To celebrate his natal day
In hard-won Flanders' ditches.

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Nut

He used to get, when in civilian state,
His tea and shaving water, sharp, at eight.
Then ten delicious minutes would be spent
In one last snooze of exquisite content.

That cozy nest, luxuriously sprung,
Was like a cloud 'twixt earth and heaven hung,
The eiderdown and blankets, soft and warm,
Were yet as light as spindrift in a storm.

Unparalleled contingencies since then
Have found a soldier in the citizen.
In inky tent he thrusts and coils each limb
To make his one ewe blanket cover him.

The Spartan methods of a scanty kit
May make the budding soldier hard and fit,
Yet, while he sleeps, a chilliness of spine
Breeds harassed dreams of ''shun! 'and' Right

Grumble not he, it's all a bit of fun.
'One blanket's better,' as he says, 'than none'
The same for him as other Tommies, but
No disrespect in future for the Nut!

By Jessie Pope

[Errata: The 'Nut' referred to is not Jessie Pope's son, but rather Basil Hallam, killed August 20, 1916 at the battle of the Somme.]

[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

It hangs on the wall, a trifle battered,
The wire is warped and the lining tattered.
And the leather inside shows speakingly how
It’s been wet with the sweat of a soldier’s brow.

Month after month, through that fierce campaign—
The bitterest fight that was fought in vain—
It was jammed on an Anzac’s lean, brown poll,
As he pierced his way to a glimpse of goal.

Furlong by furlong, aye, inch by inch,
From the sniping shot to the cold-steel, clinch-
Fists, “rough-housing,” any old tools—
He got there each time by “Rafferty rules.”

Till a shell, with his name on, gave him a call—
And that is the tale of the cap on the wall,
But the sequel, though strange, is an equally true one—
Its owner, thank God, is now wearing a new one.

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Shining pins that dart and click
In the fireside's sheltered peace
Check the thoughts that cluster thick-
20 plain and then decrease.

He was brave, well, so was I,
Keen and merry, but his lip
Quivered when he said good-bye
Purl the seam-stitch, purl and slip.

Never used to living rough,
Lots of things he'd got to learn;
Wonder if he's warm enough
Knit 2, catch 2, knit 1, turn.

Hark! The paper-boys again!
Wish that shout could be suppressed;
Keeps one always on the strain,
Knit off 9, and slip the rest.

Wonder if he's fighting now,
What he's done and where he's been;
He'll come out on top, somehow
Slip 1, knit 2, purl 14.

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Knitting Song

Soldier lad, on the sodden ground,
Sailor lad on the seas,
Can't you hear a little clicketty sound
Stealing across on the breeze?
It's the knitting-needles singing their song
As they twine the khaki or blue,
Thousands and thousands and thousands strong,
Tommy and Jack, for you.

Click -- click -- click,
How they dart and flick,
Flashing in the firelight to and fro!
Now for purl and plain,
Round and round again,
Knitting love and luck in every row.

The busy hands may be rough or white,
The fingers gouty or slim,
The careful eyes may be youthfully bright,
Or they may be weary and dim,
Lady and workgirl, young and old,
They've all got one end in view,
Knitting warm comforts against the cold,
Tommy and Jack, for you.

Knitting away by the midnight oil,
Knitting when day begins,
Lads, in the stress of your splendid toil,
Can't you hear the song of the pins?
Clicketty, click -- through the wind and the foam
It's telling the boys over there
That every 'woolly' that comes from home
Brings a smile and a hope and a prayer.

Click -- click -- click,
How they dart and flick,
Flashing in the firelight to and fro!
Now for purl and plain,
Round and round again,
Knitting love and luck in every row.

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

“Down under” boys on furlough are in town
Discharged from hospital, repaired and braced,
Their faces still retain their native brown,
Their millinery captivates our taste.

They’ve proved themselves a terror to the Turk,
Of cut and thrust they bear full many a token,
But though they’ve been through grim, heartbreaking work,
The Anzac spirit never can be broken.

Their talk is picturesque, their manner frank,
A little hasty, what they think— they say—
They’ve got a down on arrogance and swank,
Passive submission doesn’t come their way.

Risk and adventure are their fondest joys,
If there’s a fight around, well, they’ll be in it—
To tell the truth, they really are “some” boys—
You get quite friendly with them in a minute.

Quite friendly, yes, no harm in being friends,
They must not find their furlough dull and tame,
But, girls, see to it there the matter ends,
And show that London girls can play the game,

While of good comradeship you take your fill
Don’t use your power to make their hearts your plunder,
But let them pause, and hear when nights are still
The other girl who coo-ees from “down under.”

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
A Cossack Charge

The eager hoofs are drumming,
On glinting steel the autumn sunlight glances.
The distant mass draws nearer,
The surging line shows clearer
An angry, tossing wave of manes and lances.

The torrent opens wider;
As one, move horse and rider,
One heart, one soul, one body, and one breath.
The narrow eyes are laughing,
The wine of war they're quaffing,
The glorious draught of swift, resistless death.

They've met them they're through them !
In writhing heaps they strew them,
Through breaking lines the whipping whirlwind crashes.
Then pauselessly it flies on
Away to the horizon,
And disappears in distant, glinting flashes.

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Outpost

A dying sunset's slanting rays
Incarnadine the soldier's deed,
His sturdy countenance betrays
The bull-dog breed.

Not his to shun the stubborn fight,
The struggle against cruel odds.
Alone, unaided 'tis a sight
For men and gods.

And now his back is bowed and bent,
Now stooping, now erect he stands,
And now the red life blood is sprent
From both his hands.

He takes his enemies on trust
As one who sees and yet is blind,
For every mutilating thrust
Comes from behind.

'Tis done ! The dying sun has gone,
But triumph fills the soldier's breast.
He's sewn his back brace button on
While fully dressed.

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

We know that you’re sportsmen, with reason,
At footer and cricket you’re crack;
I haven’t forgotten the season
When we curled up before the “All Blacks.”
In the matter of wielding the “willow,”
We own, to our cost, that you’re it,
The “ashes” you’ve borne o’er the billow—
Though they’re home again now, for a bit.

There are weightier matters to settle
To-day, amid bullets and shells;
And the world stands amazed at the mettle
You’ve shown in the far Dardanelles.
The marvellous feat of your landing
Your exploits by field and by deed,
Your charges that brooked no withstanding,
Though you poured out the best of your blood.

You left your snug homesteads “down under”;
The prosperous life of your land,
And staggered the Turks with your thunder,
To give the Old Country a hand.
For dare-devil work we may book you,
You’re ready and keen to get to it.
If a job is impossible, look you,
The boys from “down under” will do it.

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Lads of the Maple Leaf

Ripe for any adventure, sturdy, loyal and game,
Quick to the call of the Mother, the young Canadians came.
Eager to show their mettle, ready to shed their blood,
They bowed their neck to the collar and trained in the Wiltshire mud;

Shipped, in the fulness of time, across to the other shore,
Heard a deep hum in the distance, the basso profundo of war,
Fretted to get to the business, chafed for the firing line;
Forward, with throbbing pulses, like pilgrims who near their shrine;

Spoiled for a fight, and got it -- lurid, merciless, red --
Trifled with death in the trenches, braved, and battled, and bled;
Then, at a given order, gathered together and backed --
Not because they were bending, but to keep the line intact.

Four of their guns defenceless -- left in the enemy's hand!
That was a bitter buffet, more than the lads could stand.
Back charged the men of the Maple, routed the jubilant Huns,
Captured a pack of Germans, and saved their beloved guns.

Ripe for any adventure, sturdy, loyal, and game,
Quick to the call of the Mother, the keen Canadians came.
Hurrah for the young Dominion! Then cheer them with heart and voice,
The Maple shall never wither! Bravo, Canada boys!

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Blackest Lie

(The Frankfurter Zeitung states that Belgium intrigued with England and France to drag Germany into war.)

Big bully Belgium,
Breathing blood and flame,
Crafty as a serpent
In a cunning game,
Sent a note to England,
Sent a note to France,
"Let us crush the Fatherland
While we have the chance!"

Poor little Germany,
Gentle land of peace,
Seeking the Millennium,
When armaments shall cease;
Rather grieved than angry,
Called her sons to fight,
To protect their Fatherland,
As was only right.

Hurry with the whitewash,
Pour it out in streams!
Bleach the ravaged country,
Louvain, Antwerp, Rheims!
Belgium concocted war,
Thus deserves her fate!
That's the blackest Teuton lie
Published up to date.

By Jessie Pope
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Zeppelin Armada

O-Day, since Zeppelins are in the air,
And folks glance skywards as they go their ways,
Let us hark back a bit to an affair
That happened in Queen Bess's sturdy days,
When the Armada, backed by Spanish lust
A fleet that floating palaces resembled
Sailed proudly forth to crush us in the dust,
While all the tremulous in England trembled.

What was the fate of those unwieldy craft?
Our little frigates made of British oak
Harassed the mighty galleons fore and aft,
Handy to strike and shun the counterstroke.
The Great Invasion ended in defeat.
No more could Philip play the part of mocker,
The rout of the Armada was complete,
And down it went to Davy Jones's locker.

What frigates did in 1558
May be repeated in the air to-day,
When clumsy Zeppelins may meet their fate
From aeroplanes that sting and dart away.
A well-equipped and handy air patrol
Would circumvent an aerial attack.
If London is to be the Zeppes' goal,
It's up to us to see they don't go back!

By Jessie Pope

First Zeppelin attack against Britain, January 19, 1915


War Poetry

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