The Cherry Picker

by | Nov 18, 2010 | Poetry | 0 comments

Well I took the shilling and made me mark
with a scratch of the sergeants quill,
an’ I fell in behind,
an’ I marched quick time,
an’ I quickly learned me drill.
They took me aside, asked if I could ride.
Me, who lived behind the plough.
I replied. ‘Of course,’
was put on an ‘orse
an Hussar, they said I was now.
Long hours I laboured, I mastered the sabre
I’d cut, I’d thrust and I’d parry
I was Cardigan’s man now
I’d scrape and I’d bow,
wear britches the colour of cherry.
I drank in the bars, with the other hussars
to forget the smell o’ the soil.
I kept me nose clean
cos the sergeants was mean
and I feared the lash’s coil.
Then in fifty three, we was sent to sea
to a place they called the Crimea.
It was full of disease
and at night we’d freeze
we disliked the whole idea.
With the Lancers we made, The Light Brigade
and we rode to recover the guns.
Sent up the wrong valley,
a suicide alley,
an ambush the Russians had sprung.
We were cut to shreds, with half of us dead
scythed down by the enemy shells
and when the smoke cleared
my eyes, full of fear,
saw a scene that was straight out of hell.
Those that survived was barely alive
their tunics was tattered and torn
grown men were crying,
horses were dying
I’ve never seen men more forlorn.
I’m lucky they said, that I’m not with the dead,
that the surgeon was skilled with the knife.
But I lost me leg,
so I walk on this peg,
and It’s not left me much of a life.
So when you hear the drum, you turn and you run
you don’t take ‘is majesty’s coin.
Think what you’ve been told
that way you’ll grow old,
I don’t want for my son to join.


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