Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

The Mouth-Organ - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Oh, there ain't no band to cheer us up, there ain't no 'Ighland pipers
To keep our warlike ardure warm round New Chapelle an' Wipers;
So - since there's nothin' like a tune to glad the 'eart o' man -
Why, Billy with 'is mouth-organ 'e does the best 'e can.

There ain't no birds in Plug Street Wood, the guns 'ave sent 'em flyin',
An' there ain't no song to 'ear except the squealin' shells a-cryin';
The thrushes all 'ave 'ooked it, an' the blackbirds 'ad to flit . . .
So Billy with 'is mouth-organ 'e ups an' does 'is bit.

'Is notes is somewhat limited, they are not 'igh an' soary;
'E 'asn't got that many things in 'is bloomin' repertory;
But when 'e's played the lot, why, then 'is course is straight an' plain,
'E starts at the beginnin' an' 'e plays 'em all again!

'E plays 'em oft upon the march, an' likewise in the trenches;
'E plays 'em to the Gurkhas, an' 'e's played 'em to the Frenchies;
'E may be ankle-deep in dust or middle-deep in slime,
But Billy with 'is mouth-organ 'e's at it all the time.

Wet, 'ungry, thirsty, 'ot or cold, whatever may betide 'im,
'E'll play upon the 'ob of 'ell while the breath is left inside 'im;
And when we march up Potsdam Street an' goosestep through Berlin,
Why, Billy with 'is mouth-organ 'e'll play the Army in!

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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