Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Return Of The Prodigal - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

I rode into Pincher River on an August afternoon -
The pinto's hoofs on the prairie drumming a drowsy tune -
By the shacks and the Chinks' truck-gardens to the Athabasca Saloon.

And a bunch of the boys was standing around by the old Scotch Store,
Standing and spitting and swearing by old Macallister's door,
And the name on their lips was Britain - the word that they spoke was 'War'!

War! . . . Do you think I waited to talk about wrong or right
When I knew my own country was up to the neck in a fight?
I said 'So long' - and I beat it - 'I'm hitting the trail to-night!'

I wasn't long at my packing; I hadn't much time to dress;
And the cash I had at disposal was a ten-spot (more or less),
So I didn't wait for my ticket - I booked by the hoboes' express.

I rode the bumpers at night-time; I beat the ties in the day,
Stealing a ride and humming a ride all of the blooming way,
And . . . I left the First Contingent drilling at Valcartier!

I didn't cross in a liner (I hadn't my passage by me!)
I spotted a Liverpool cargo tramp, smelly and greasy and grimy,
And she wanted hands for the voyage, and the old man guessed he'd try me.

She kicked like a ballet dancer or a range-bred bronco mare;
She rolled till her engines rattled - she wallowed, but what did I care?
It was, 'Go it, my bucking beauty, if only you'll take me there!'

Then . . . came an autumn morning, grey-blue, windy and clear,
And the fields - the little white houses - green, and peaceful, and dear -
And the heart inside o' me saying: 'Take me, Mother, I'm here!'

'Here, for I thought you'd want me; I've brought you all that I own,
A lean long lump of a carcass that's mostly muscle and bone -
Six foot two in my stockings - weigh-in at fourteen stone!'

'Here, and I hope you'll have me - take me for what I'm worth,
A chap that's a bit of a waster, come from the ends of the earth,
To fight with the best that's in him for the dear old land of his birth!'


Comments about The Return Of The Prodigal by Cicely Fox Smith

There is no comment submitted by members..



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010



[Report Error]