Meg poem

The Sapper’s Lament

I’m complaining of my head and eyes, and also of my chest;…

The Sapper’s Lament

I’m complaining of my head and eyes
  and also of my chest;
I never get a minute’s sleep; I can’t march
   with the rest
Because my feet have flattened out, and
   since my bunions came
(After my wife had turns last year) I’ve
   never been the same.
My mother suffers from her nerves, she
   says she had fits when
She was a kid. My father’s dead – he
   died when I was ten
(Though ’twasn’t that that killed him). I
   left school at Standard III
And mighty glad to leave I was, and ran
   away to sea.
But when I got the chance to quit I took
  a job on land
For sea life is a rough life and there’s
   some jobs I can’t stand.
(I told you of my eyes and feet and
   how I cough at night
Till it feels as if my head’ll bust?) My
   back’s never been right
Since an accident I met with when
   a lorry knocked me down –
They kept me weeks in hospital, and they
   baked my whole back brown
But it made no difference to the pain,
   [and so] I made them pay

Full compensation – I can’t bend or lift
   things to this day.
But when they called me up I came and
   tried to do my share,
Was it my fault about my head and
   chest and feet? It’s not fair
To label me a shirker when I go sick.
   I know you
Would like a little medicine if you
   suffered like I do.
They put me down as A1 when I joined –
   they didn’t care
How much I coughed (though I coughed a lot)
   and if I had been near
To having one foot in the grave ‘twould still
   have been the same,
And now I’m on a draft you know and
   seeing that I’m lame
And my back’s bad and my chest weak
   I thought that you’ld agree
My category needs altering, it should be
   C – or E.

Margaret Taylor