‘A SNIPER’S GIFT OF A GOODNIGHT KISS’ – A verse of respect and remembrance using just some of the words and phrases gifted us from the trenches of WW1


I was ‘arguing the toss’ with Private Jenkinson

A ‘badmash’ who would not ‘muck in’

The camaraderie of a ‘fair whack’

Simply caused him to grin a foolish grin


And cause a great commotion

Debating who would get to use the ‘dixie’

And fry the ‘bully beef’ and ‘barkers’ up

Yet scoffing it would prove risky


For no sooner had we calmed down

The smell of ‘pear drops’ filled the air

So it was grab the ‘thingumyjig’ mask

And say a little prayer


For no one wants to ‘cop it’

In a ‘cubby hole’ wet and dank

Rather a ‘gasper’ and a ‘lucifer’

It’s the same for any rank


Then the cry ‘over the top’ came

From a ‘brass hat’ of poshest voice

No time for ‘poodlefakers’

No time to think of choice


It was clearly ‘zero hour’

We are to tackle the ‘Squareheads’

Best get to it; our duty

Best not to ‘swing the lead’


The enemy had a ‘field day’ though

I saw Jenkinson ‘cop it’ first

A ‘dum dum’ to the temple

Sadly the poor lad he was cursed


A ‘red tab’ went ‘doolally’

Before we reached the first barbed wire

A ‘Tommy’ in a ‘trench coat’

Was in their line of fire


It was then my turn to ‘cop it’

A snipers gift of a ‘goodnight kiss’

They’d seen us coming though their ‘perisher’

And shot into the abyss


The ‘third man’ I am to be then

The ‘chats’ concern me no more

Won’t dress again in ‘mufti’

A ‘wooden overcoat’ that’s for sure


This field in Flanders will be my grave

I’ll not get back to ‘BIighty’ now

Still better dead than a ‘basket case’

Sadly ‘Mutt and Jeff’ to my ‘outfits’ vow



26 thoughts on “‘A SNIPER’S GIFT OF A GOODNIGHT KISS’ – A verse of respect and remembrance using just some of the words and phrases gifted us from the trenches of WW1

  1. It’s funny because right now I am working on a prompt where you are provided a set of nouns and need to create a story around them. Seems like you did the same. Well done.

    1. Oddly ‘Mutt and Jeff’ – commonly used in cockney rhyming slang for ‘deaf’ has its origins in characters from a US newspaper and you Yanks used it in reference to The British War Medal and the Victory Medal! It is thus yours not ours.

  2. What’s history other than the birthdays of presidents and kings, or maybe the dates of a battle or two?

    It certainly isn’t what grandpa said after we caught him muttering and asked, “Whatsa dum-dum”

    1. Cheers – did you know from your side of the pond WW1 produced such phrases as ‘basket case’ & ‘mutt and jeff’ – there must be many more from the ranks of US soldiers from the trenches though!

      1. You did a magnificent job of capturing the feeling of the time. The father of one of my boyhood friends fought in France during World War I. He was a member of a U.S. Marine unit. He used to talk to his son and me of the War, and the feeling that he conveyed was one of helplessness and futility.

      2. Cheers for that – my son (22 years graduate with a first in music) wrote a song not so long ago entitled ‘Aged 19’ based on his visit with us the Etaples last year – so taken aback was he by lines and lines of graves headed ‘Aged 19’. It is only in demo format presently yet I might just ask him if I can post it on my blog in the next few days. It’s a bit up tempo for my taste yet his lyric is sublime. Watch this space – hopefully!

  3. I wish you would have posted a legend at the bottom that would have told us what these words mean… I have no clue what you said. 😀 Regardless, I still thought it was brilliant and a very clever idea as well! Bravo! 😀

    1. True – I should have. I overlooked that here in the UK most of the words and phrases are still in common use. I forgot that that is not the case everywhere. Slapped wrist and all that…..there are a few American phrases from the trenches as well I discovered. Namely, ‘mutt and jeff’ and ‘woodbine’ also ‘limey.’

      1. I’ve never heard woodbine. I only know the other two because of living with my grandparents. I think they’re both pretty old. (The words…not my grandparents. Though Grandma is older than dirt.) I think Mutt and Jeff was an old comic strip and limey is a not nice word for a British sailor.

      2. Woodbine was a cheap cigarette all the Brits smoked and the Yanks wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole because they were so cheap and vile! I’m with the Yanks on this one.

  4. Funny how, in a 100 years time, a lot of things change, while other things stay exactly the same. I’m sure any soldier from 1914 could have read and understood your poem, perhaps even better than I can understand it today. Great tribute to the people that fought and lost their lives, and to the whole lunacy of that war (I know, every war is ludicrous, but WWI really did a number on common sense!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s