Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Bent double, like short-legs (Boonie or Slats),
Weak-kneed, frothing like dags, we cursed our Pom grudge
Then on their daunting glares turned our backs
And toward our pavilion rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All’d felt game, ball-shined,
Yet stunk, lacked technique, deaf even to Joe Root’s
Inspired, deft 159 as we replied, way behind.

GAS! Gas! Their quick boys – Wickets were a-tumbling;
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But Warner still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man after three bottles of wine.

Swann: “Through misty shades, the baggy green plight,
As though in my pocket, I saw him frowning.
In all my dreams, before my gleeful sight,
He lunges at me, back-cutting, poking – astounding!”

If in his smothering dreams Hughes truly liked pace…  
Yet see his wagon wheel from what was flung at him
And come watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like Michael Bevan’s sick of spin;
If you could hear, every ball, the chirp
Come gargling from dross-corrupted tongues,
Obscenities to answer, bitter as the dud,
Vile incurable scores whence our reputations hung,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To Aussie kids ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie: Dulce et Decorum Est
Pro patria block-out-for-a-draw-y 

With apologies to Wilfred Owen.

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