Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems




From the George Bateman Collection, copiled by Howard Rose.


 My Friends Who Stayed at Home


I'm pulling off my colours,

I'll sling my web away,

I'm going down to Cairo,

To draw my blooming pay.

I'm tired of being a soldier,

So help me God, I am,

Of chewing mouldy biscuits,

And eating bread and jam,

Of fighting dirty "Dagoes",

Out here on my own.

When I think of dear old Aussie,

And my friends who stayed at home.


I'll bet their walking down the street,

Their chests puffed out with pride,

And skiting to their cobbers,

How they saved their worthless hides.

While here's me, in the desert,

Not game to lift my head,

in case some greasy Dago,

Fills it full of lead.


When I told my mother,

that I'd volunteered to fight,

She said "God Bless you son,

Please bring you back alright".

But they called me a "Chocolate Soldier"

A "five bob" tourist too,

They said you'll never see the "front",

Or get a bloody view.

They said I'll have a picnic,

Across the ocean's foam,

They weren't game to face it,

So they stopped at home.


Now, they're not bad shots either,

When on the rabbit track.

Then there ain't no danger,

Cause rabbits don't shoot back.

They shine before the barmaids,

They brag, they're full of skiting,

Just off the corner of the street,

That's where they do their fighting.

A billiard cue their rifle,

The bar, their fighting zone,

As there's never any bullets there,

For my friends that stopped at home.


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