Wilfred Owen

(1893-1918 / Shropshire / England)

The Chances


I mind as 'ow the night afore that show
Us five got talking, -- we was in the know,
"Over the top to-morrer; boys, we're for it,
First wave we are, first ruddy wave; that's tore it."
"Ah well," says Jimmy, -- an' 'e's seen some scrappin' --
"There ain't more nor five things as can 'appen;
Ye get knocked out; else wounded -- bad or cushy;
Scuppered; or nowt except yer feeling mushy."

One of us got the knock-out, blown to chops.
T'other was hurt, like, losin' both 'is props.
An' one, to use the word of 'ypocrites,
'Ad the misfortoon to be took by Fritz.
Now me, I wasn't scratched, praise God Almighty
(Though next time please I'll thank 'im for a blighty),
But poor young Jim, 'e's livin' an' 'e's not;
'E reckoned 'e'd five chances, an' 'e's 'ad;
'E's wounded, killed, and pris'ner, all the lot --
The ruddy lot all rolled in one. Jim's mad.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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