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A Year of Poetry – Day 287

Old Man, by your broad contented grin
And the gleam in your quiet eyes,
You are back with ‘Jorrocks’ and ‘Binjimin’
In the land where the good fun lies;
You are riding where rifles reach you not
On a line both safe and sure
From the meet at the ‘Cat and Custard Pot’
To the kill on Wandermoor.
In vain do the cannon of memory call
From the Flanders fields forlorn,
When you hear by the stacks of Barley Hall
The twang of the ”ard un’s’ horn;
And little you reck of a broken thigh
And a bandaged arm to boot,
When the old comedian canters by
On his ‘henterpriseless brute.’
For, back to you comes each sound and sight
At a touch of the magic pen,
Till you take your place in the old first flight,
With a lead on the grass again,
And Surtees, the sage with the jester’s art,
Would be proud had he lived to know
He had brightened an hour for your gallant heart
With the ring of his ‘Tally-ho!’

–William Henry Ogilvie, To One of our Wounded

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