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Robert William Service (Роберт Уильям Сервис)


Land Mine


A grey gull hovered overhead,
Then wisely flew away.
'In half a jiffy you'll be dead,'
I thought I heard it say;
As there upon the railway line,
Checking an urge to cough,
I laboured to de-fuse the mine
That had not yet gone off.

I tapped around the time-clock rim,
Then something worried me.
I heard the singing of a hymn:
Nearer my God to Thee.
That damned Salvation Army band!
I phoned back to the boys:
'Please tell them,--they will understand,--
Cut out the bloody noise!'

Silence... I went to work anew,
And then I heard a tick
That told me the blast was due,--
I never ran so quick.
I heard the fury-roar behind;
The earth erupted hell,
As hoisted high and stunned and blind
Into a ditch I fell.

Then when at last I crawled from cover,
My hands were bloody raw;
And I was blue and bruised all over,
And this is what I saw:
All pale, but panting with elation,
And very much unstuck,
There was the Army of Salvation
Emerging from the muck.

And then I heard the Captain saying:
''Twas Heaven heard our pleas;
For there anight we all were praying
Down on our bended knees.
'Twas little hope your comrades gave you,
Though we had faith divine...
The blessed Lord stooped down to save you,
But Gosh! He cut it fine.'



Robert William Service's other poems:
  1. Duello
  2. Last Look
  3. Two Husbands
  4. Pragmatic
  5. Making Good


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