Marriott Edgar ( )

Sam Goes to It

Sam Small had retired from the Army,
In the old Duke of Wellingtons time,
So when present unpleasantness started,
He were what you might call... past his prime.

Hed lived for some years in retirement,
And knew nowt of war, if you please,
Till they blasted and bombed his allotment,
And shelled the best part of his peas.

T were as if bugles called Sam to duty,
For his musket he started to search,
He found it at last in the Hen house,
Buff Orpingtons had it for perch.

Straight off to the Fusilliers depot,
He went to rejoin his old troop...
Where he found as they couldnt recruit Him,
Until his age group was called up.

Now Sam wasnt getting no younger,
Past the three score and ten years was he,
And he reckoned by time they reached his age group,
Hed be very near ten score and three.

So he took up the matter with Churchill,
Who said, I dont know what to do,
Never was there a time when so many,
Came asking so much from so few.

I dont want no favours Sam answered,
Dont think as Im one of that mob,
All Im asking is give me the tools, lad,
And let me help finish the job.

Ill fit you in somewhere, said Winnie,
Old soldiers we must not discard.
Then seeing hed got his own musket,
He sent him to join the Home Guard.

They gave Sam a coat with no stripes on,
In spite of the service hed seen,
Which considering hed been a Kings sergeant,
Kind of rankled... you know what I mean.

He said I come back to the Army,
Expecting my countrys thanks,
And the first thing I find when I get here,
Is that Ive been reduced to the ranks.

He found all the lads sympathetic,
They agreed that twere a disgrace,
Except one old chap in the corner,
With a nutcracker kind of a face.

Said the old fella, Who do you think you are?
The last to appear on the scene,
And you start off by wanting promotion,
Last come, last served... see what I mean?

Said Sam, Wasnt I at Corunna,
And when company commander got shot,
Didnt I lead battalion to victory?
Said the old fella, No... you did not.

I didnt? said Sam quite indignent,
Why, in every fight Wellington fought,
Wasnt I at his right hand to guard him?
Said old chap, You were nowt of the sort.

What do you know of Duke and his battles?
Said Sam, with a whithering look,
Said the old man, I ought to know something,
Between you and me... Im the Duke.

And if you should look in any evening,
Youll find them both in the canteen,
Ex Commander-in-Chief and ex Sergeant,
Both just Home Guards... you know what I mean?

Marriott Edgar's other poems:
  1. The Burghers of Calais
  2. Richard Coeur-de-Lion
  3. Alberts Return
  4. Goalkeeper Joe
  5. Marksman Sam

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