Sunday, 6 May 2007

My three kids

The awful story coming from Portugal, and of course, the continuing sad news from Afghanistan and Iraq, keeps bringing me back to an article and a poem entitled My Three Kids, by Lieut. Robert Stewart Smylie, which I read in the Daily Telegraph recently.

I’ve lost the cutting, but the original can be found on the Imperial War Museum’s site, and the article with it.

Here’s the poem.

I am writing this tonight, My three kids
By a little candle-light, My three kids
And the candlestick’s a tin
With some dry tobacco in
And so that’s how I begin, To three kids

Now I wonder what you’re at, My three kids
Moll and Bids and little Pat, My three kids
Why of course there’s two asleep
But perhaps Moll’s thinking deep
Watching little starts that peep, At my kids

Since I left you long ago, My three kids
There’s a lot you’d like to know, My three kids
That has happened to your dad
In the varied luck he’s had
In adventures good and bad, My three kids

I have soldiered in a trench, My three kids
Serving under Marshall French, My three kids
Once a shell dropped with a thud
Quite close, covered me with mud
And its lucky ‘twas a dud, For my kids

And I’ve crossed the ground outside, My three kids
It’s at night that’s chiefly tried, My three kids
And the bullets sang all round
Overhead, or struck the ground
But your daddy none has found, No my kids

I have mapped our trenches new, My three kids
And some German trenches too, My three kids
I have sprinted past a wood
Counting steps, for so I could
Judge the distance, as I should, My three kids

I have placed our snipers where, My three kids
On the Germans they could stare, My three kids
And they killed their share of men
Quite a lot for snipers ten
From their little hidden den, My three kids

And I’ve slept in bed quite warm, My three kids
But I haven’t taken harm, My three kids
When upon the ground I lay
Without even straw or hay
In the same clothes night and day, My three kids

When they sent us back to rest, My three kids
Then they seemed to think it best, My three kids
To send on your dad ahead
To discover where a bed
Could be found, or some old shed, My three kids

And new officers were trained, My three kids
And the men we’ve lately gained, My three kids
And while that work was in hand
I was second in command
Of B Coy and that was grand, My three kids

But it didn’t last all through, My three kids
There was other work to do, My three kids
When they made me adjutant
I was busy as an ant
And its not much catch, I grant, My three kids

I have ridden on a horse, My three kids
Captured from a German force, My three kids
And I’ve marched and crawled and run
Night and day in rain and sun
And shall do it till we’ve won, My three kids

And I’d rather be with you, My three kids
Yet you know I’m lucky too, My three kids
Lots of men I used to know
Now are killed or wounded, though
I remain, and back I’ll go, To my kids

And I hope you’ll all keep well, My three kids
Just as sound as any bell, My three kids
And when this long war is done
We shall have some glorious fun
Moll and Bids and little son, My three kids

R Stewart Smylie
Lieut 1st R.S.F.
In the field
19/11/15

6 comments:

Electro Kevin said...

A lovely poem, Scrobs - a tribute to the chap that he kept a sense of humour and proportion through all of that.

Scroblene said...

Hits me too Electro,

You're my first link too, thanks for that!

Oliver Gosling said...

I think you'll find, you blind beggar... that you have been linked on Beavershott for quite a little while now...

Scroblene said...

Dear Oliver,

How many times do I have to tell you - I'M NOT THE VAGRANT!

Sometimes you just have to go "shdget(((*&&""£tcyshhdgd%^&%%^^ggd" to get anyone to listen these days!

Thanks for doing that any way, I did find out early this morning but had to lie down in a darkened room, which upset Mrs S for a short moment.

I'm going to report you to Doris anyway!

Tuscan Tony said...

Wonderful verse, Scrobes, does anyone know what happened to him, did he make it? I truly hope so.

Scroblene said...

Sadly not Tony, but what a man!

He was killed on 14th July, 1916 leading 'C' Company of The Royal Scots Fusiliers at Longueval Ridge, on The Somme.

He's now buried at Flatiron Copse Cemetery.

There's a bit more on this link.

http://www.iwm.org.uk/server/show/nav.00o00200g