Charlie and Bill
Sat very still,
On two, adjacent benches.
It was 88 years,
Since they’d shared their fears,
In the mud, and the blood, of the trenches.
But their hearts still rushed,
And faces flushed,
When recalling the days of their youth.
And the sounds of battle,
Like machine-guns’ rattle,
Still rang in their ears . . . that’s the truth!
“Charlie?” Bill said,
“P’raps I’m nuts in the ‘ead,
“But d’you remember those mugs of tea?
“That were the colour of clay,
“Sort of . . . watery grey
“An' they gave 'em to us for free?"
Charlie said, “Yes,
“I do, I guess.
“But what made you think of that?"
Said Bill blowing his nose,
“Well I suppose,
“It’s the time of life that I’m at.
“They mixed in stuff,
“Which was, kind of rough,
“To cool our rampant ardour.
“Bromide* it was,
“And they did it because,
“Sex-starved they thought we’d fight ‘arder.
“Well, me memory’s goin’,
“An' me aches they’s growin’’
“An' death’s round the corner lurkin’.
“But it seems t' me,
“That finally . . .
“. . . that chemical’s actually workin’!”
* North American readers may want to substitute "Saltpetre" for bromide. The "end" result is supposedly the same.
Thank you Karla for that prompt.