The Recruit by Cyril Doorbar
They sang his praises,
He answered the call,
To defend his country, King and all,
So with flags and banners waving,
The King’s shilling in his hand
And drums and bugles sounding,
He marched behind the band.
The call to arms was answered
And he felt an inward glow
As off he went to learn the skills;
Unarmed combat, rifle drills,
Pack on back and through the mire,
Soaking wet in his attire,
To get ready for the show.
Order arms, Slope arms,
Shoulder arms, Present arms,
Stand at ease.
Stand up straight, get off your knees.
Quick march around the square,
Left, left, left, left,
Keep your chin up, shoulders back.
Keep the pace up, never slack.
Never mind your poor feet,
Salute your captain when you meet.
Five rounds rapid fire
Keep your wits about you, never tire,
And you’ll be fine,
And keep your eyes peeled.
Off you go, you’re ready for the line.
He was ordered to the fire step
To keep a watchful eye,
And report of any funny tricks
The enemy may try.
A lovely summer morning,
The blue sky up on high,
The skylarks singing as they soar,
The time was passing by.
All was very quiet,
Just the thump of a distant shell.
The enemy is always watching,
Though you may never tell.
Just then he was alerted,
On the parapet by his face
A spider came crawling by,
Then suddenly slowed its pace,
It stopped, it looked, then scurried on,
And with increasing speed had almost gone.
To keep the spider in his sight
He leaned a little to his right.
He saw a flash, then all went dark,
A sniper’s bullet found its mark.
They carried him down, they said a prayer,
And whispered grace.
Then ordered another to take his place.
The evening news bulletin – “Nothing to report.
All quiet on the Western Front”
Another recruit who’d answered the call,
Another recruit who’d given his all,
Just another recruit who bore the brunt,
And was sacrificed on the Western Front.