THE SNIPER - Alice Mary Buckton Poems


Poems » alice mary buckton » the sniper


I’ve seen the champions of the land,
        Shootin’ out at Bisley,
The Canadian back-woodsman
        Slay the roarin’ Grizzly;
I’ve seen the Monte Carlo sport
        Baggin’ pigeons by the score,
The crack shot on the stage, too,
        With his thousand tricks or more.

But there’s a chap ’ere on Gallipoli,
        Who can beat the bloomin’ lot,
For ’ittin’ of the bull’s eye
        He’s cayenne pepper ’ot.
’Is eye is like the eagle’s;
        ’Is nerves are made of steel;
For cunnin’ an’ for darin’,
        ’E takes the candied-peel.

’E digs ’isself in neatly
        Until ’e can’t be seen;
’E crawls among the bushes,
        An’ paints ’imself all green.
’E climbs up stunted pine-trees,
        An’ snipes away at us.
But ’e never shows ’is pozzy,
        An’ ’e never makes a fuss.

’Is rifle’s got a silencer,
        An’ it never makes a flash;
You don’t know that he’s shootin’
        Till you hear his bullets splash.
Then you know it’s time to ’ook it,
        ’Less you want one through the head,
For Mr. Turkish Sniper
        Never wastes ’is bit o’ lead.

If ’e’s shootin’ from a thousand,
        Or just from twenty-five,
You’ll ’ear ’is bullets ’umming
        Like bees around a ’ive.
’E’s mighty fond o’ loop-’oles,
        An’ he likes the maxim-gun;
At smashin’ bally periscopes
        ’E fairly takes the bun.

If you leap out from the trenches,
        To cut scrub that grows around,
You’ll see ’is purrin’ bullets
        Ploughin’ furrers in the ground.
If you’re fixin’ up entanglements,
        An’ stickin’ up barbed wire,
He’s on you like a lynx-cat
        With ’is deadly snipin’ fire.

But when ’e gets upon our flanks
        It stirs our slumberin’ ire,
An’ we curse the Turkish sniper,
        With ’is enfiladin’ fire.
’E ’ides be’ind our trenches,
        An’ piles up ’eaps o’ slain;
’E shoots us in the brisket
        An’ makes us yelp with pain.

’E watches all our cables,
        Shoots our linesmen on patrol,
Then crawls out in the darkness
        An’ steals their bloomin’ roll.
On officers ’e’s dead nuts,
        They seem to be ’is game;
’E tops them off so cruel
        When they’re busy winnin’ fame.

’E nicks our bloomin’ uniform,
        An’ mixes up with us;
Then ’e goes away a-snipin’,
        The free-bootin’ Turkish cuss.
’E’s got no Ten Commandments,
        An’ Sunday’s just the same;
’E don’t believe in eight hours
        When ’e’s on ’is snipin’ game.

If you’re after a commission,
        An’ you want to ride in cars,
Just stick your ’ead above the trench,
        An’ ’e’ll give you bloomin’ stars;
If you’re walkin’ up the traverse,
        And by Mr. Sniper seen,
’E’ll send you back to ’ospital
        With a bullet through your spleen.

When you’re sleepin’ ’mongst the wounded,
        An’ you wake up with nightmare,
You’ll dive right underneath your bed
        An’ yell out, “Snipers there!”
The nurses an’ the orderlies,
        Will flock around your bed;
You’ll tell them that they’re under fire,
        An’ to duck their bloomin’ ’ead.

You’ll grab the bally bedstead;
        It’s your rifle, so you think;
The nurse will feel your pulse an’ say.
        It’s too much beastly drink.
When you’re walkin’ streets in Cairo,
        An’ ’ear ’ornets buzzin’ round,
Then you’ll think o’ flying bullets,
        An’ you’ll flatten to the ground.

When you get back to Australia
        (That’s if you’ve got the luck),
An’ your tabby runs to ’ug yer,
        You’ll feel inclined to duck.
When you’ve pulled off all your khaki
        An’ no longer look a fighter,
You’ll feel where you’ve been wounded,
        And you’ll curse the Turkish Sniper.