Aolib.comFragment of Photochrom print of the front of Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany (ca. 1897)

Digger Smith »


By Clarence James Dennis

Australian poetry

Digger Smith

by

Clarence James Dennis

1918 (rev. 1919)

TO THE A.I.F.

CONTENTS

I. BEFORE THE WAR “Before the war,” she sighs. “Before the war”...

II. DUMMY BRIDGE “If I’d ’a’ played me Jack on that there Ten...”

III. DAD
“I’ve knowed ole Flood this last five year or more ...”

IV. DIGGER SMITH
“’E calls me Digger; that’s ’ow ’e begins ...”

V. WEST
“I’ve seen so much uv dirt an’ grime ...”

VI. OVER THE FENCE “’Taint my idea uv argument to call a man a fool ...”

VII. A DIGGER’S TALE “My oath!” the Duchess sez. “You’d not ixpect ...”

VIII. JIM’S GIRL
“’Oo is that girl,” sez Digger Smith . . .

IX. THE BOYS OUT THERE
“Why do they do it? I dunno...”

X. HALF A MAN “I wash me ’ands uv ’im,” I tells ’em, straight ...

XI. SAWIN’ WOOD
I wondered wot was doin’. First I seen ...

XII. JIM
“Now, be the Hokey Fly!” sez Peter Begg ...

XIII. A SQUARE DEAL
“Dreamin’?” I sez to Digger Smith . . .

GLOSSARY

I. BEFORE THE WAR

Before the War

“BEFORE the war,” she sighs. “Before the war.” Then blinks ’er eyes, an’ tries to work a smile. “Ole scenes,” she sez, “don’t look the same no more. Ole ways,” she sez, “seems to ’ave changed their style, The pleasures that we ’ad don’t seem worth while– Them simple joys that passed an hour away– An’ troubles, that we used to so revile, ’Ow small they look,” she sez. “’Ow small to—day.

“This war!” sighs ole Mar Flood. An’ when I seen The ole girl sittin’ in our parlour there, Tellin’ ’er troubles to my wife, Doreen, As though the talkin’ eased ’er load uv care, I thinks uv mothers, ’ere an’ everywhere, Smilin’ a bit while they are grievin’ sore For grown—up babies, fightin’ Over There; An’ then I ’ears ’em sigh, “Before the war.”

My wife ’as took the social ’abit bad. I ain’t averse–one more new word I’ve learned– Averse to tea, when tea is to be ’ad; An’ when it comes I reckon that it’s earned. It’s jist a drink, as fur as I’m concerned, Good for a bloke that’s toilin’ on the land; But when a caller comes, ’ere I am turned Into a social butterfly, off—’and.

Then drinkin’ tea becomes an ’oly rite. So’s I won’t bring the fam’ly to disgrace I gits a bit uv coachin’ overnight On ridin’ winners in this bun—fed race. I ’ave to change me shirt, an’ wash me face, An’ look reel neat, from me waist up at least, An’ sling remarks in at the proper place, An’ not makes noises drinkin’, like a beast.

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