I'm crawlin' out in the mangolds to bury wot's left o' Joe -- Joe, my pal, and a good un (God! 'ow it rains and rains). I'm sick o' seein' him lyin' like a 'eap o' offal, and so I'm crawlin' out in the beet-field to bury 'is last remains.
'E might 'a bin makin' munitions -- 'e 'adn't no need to go; An' I tells 'im strite, but 'e arnsers, "'Tain't no use chewin' the fat; I've got to be doin' me dooty wiv the rest o' the boys" . . . an' so Yon's 'im, yon blob on the beet-field wot I'm tryin' so 'ard to git at.
There was five of us lads from the brickyard; 'Enry was gassed at Bapome, Sydney was drowned in a crater, 'Erbert was 'alved by a shell; Joe was the pick o' the posy, might 'a bin sifely at 'ome, Only son of 'is mother, 'er a widder as well.
She used to sell bobbins and buttons -- 'ad a plice near the Waterloo Road; A little, old, bent-over lydy, wiv glasses an' silvery 'air; Must tell 'er I planted 'im nicely, cheer 'er up like. . . . (Well, I'm blowed, That bullet near catched me a biffer) -- I'll see the old gel if I'm spared.
She'll tike it to 'eart, pore ol' lydy, fer 'e was 'er 'ope and 'er joy; 'Is dad used to drink like a knot-'ole, she kept the 'ome goin', she did: She pinched and she scriped fer 'is scoolin', 'e was sich a fine 'andsome boy ('Alf Flanders seems packed on me panties) -- 'e's 'andsome no longer, pore kid!
This bit o' a board that I'm packin' and draggin' around in the mire, I was tickled to death when I found it. Says I, "'Ere's a nice little glow." I was chilled and wet through to the marrer, so I started to make me a fire; And then I says: "No; 'ere, Goblimy, it'll do for a cross for Joe."
Well, 'ere 'e is. Gawd! 'Ow one chinges a-lyin' six weeks in the rain. Joe, me old pal, 'ow I'm sorry; so 'elp me, I wish I could pray. An' now I 'ad best get a-diggin' 'is grave (it seems more like a drain) -- And I 'opes that the Boches won't git me till I gits 'im safe planted away.
(As he touches the body there is a tremendous explosion. He falls back shattered.)
A booby-trap! Ought to 'a known it! If that's not a bastardly trick! Well, one thing, I won't be long goin'. Gawd! I'm a 'ell of a sight. Wish I'd died fightin' and killin'; that's wot it is makes me sick. . . . Ah, Joe! we'll be pushin' up dysies . . . together, old Chummie . . . good-night!