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Poem by Robert William Service

My Prisoner

We was in a crump'ole, 'im and me;
Fightin wiv our bayonets was we;
Fightin ard as ell we was,
Fightin fierce as fire because
It was im or me as must be downed;
E was twice as big as me;
I was arf the weight of e;
We was like a terryer and a ound.
Struth! But e was sich a andsome bloke.
Me, Im 'andsome as a chunk o coke.
Did I give it im? Not arf!
Why, it fairly made me laugh,
Cos is bloomin bellows wasnt sound.
Couldnt fight for monkey nuts.
Soon I gets im in the guts,
There e lies afloppin on the ground.
In I goes to finish up the job.
Quick e throws is ands above is nob;
Speakin English good as me:
'Taint no use to kill, says 'e;
Cant yer tyke me prisoner instead?
Why, Id like to, sir, says I;
But yer knows the reason why:
If we pokes our noses out were dead.
Sorry, sir. Then on the other 'and
(As a gent like you must understand),
If I olds you longer ere,
Wiv yer pals so werry near,
Its me 'ooll 'ave a free trip to Berlin;
If I lets yer go away,
Why, youll fight another day:
See the sitooation I am in.
Anyway Ill tell you wot Ill do,
Bein kind and seein as its you,
Knowin 'ow its cold, the feel
Of a 'alf a yard o steel,
Ill let yer ave a rifle ball instead;
Now, jist think yerself in luck. . . .
Ere, ol man! You keep 'em stuck,
Them saucy dooks o yours, above yer 'ead.
Ow is mits shot up it made me smile!
Ow e seemed to ponder for a while!
Then 'e says: It seems a shyme,
Me, a man wots known ter Fyme:
Give me blocks of stone, Ill give yer gods.
Whereas, pardon me, Im sure
You, my friend, are still obscure. . . .
In war, says I, that makes no blurry odds.
Then says 'e: Ive painted picters too. . . .
Oh, dear God! The work I planned to do,
And to think this is the end!
'Ere, says I, my hartist friend,
Dont you give yerself no friskin airs.
Picters, statoos, is that why
You should be let off to die?
That the best ye done? Just say yer prayers.
Once again e seems ter think awhile.
Then e smiles a werry 'aughty smile:
Why, no, sir, its not the best;
Theres a locket next me breast,
Picter of a gel 'oos eyes are blue.
Thats the best Ive done, says 'e.
Thats me darter, aged three. . . .
Blimy! says I, Ive a nipper, too.
Straight I chucks my rifle to one side;
Shows 'im wiv a lovin farthers pride
Me own little Mary Jane.
Proud e shows me is Elaine,
And we talks as friendly as can be;
Then I elps im on is way,
Opes 'es sife at ome today,
Wonders ow would eE 'Aave treated me?

Robert William Service

Robert William Service's other poems:
  1. The Robbers
  2. The Wee Shop
  3. The Sum-Up
  4. Include Me Out
  5. Resolutions

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