The Chances

I mind as 'ow the night afore that show
Us five got talking, —we was in the know,
“Over the top to—morrer; boys, we’re for it,
First wave we are, first ruddy wave; that’s tore it.”
“Ah well,” says Jimmy, —an’ 'e’s seen some scrappin’ —
“There ain’t more nor five things as can 'appen;
Ye get knocked out; else wounded —bad or cushy;
Scuppered; or nowt except yer feeling mushy.”
One of us got the knock—out, blown to chops.
T’other was hurt, like, losin’ both 'is props.
An’ one, to use the word of ‘ypocrites,
’Ad the misfortoon to be took by Fritz.
Now me, I wasn’t scratched, praise God Almighty
(Though next time please I’ll thank 'im for a blighty),
But poor young Jim, 'e’s livin’ an’ 'e’s not;
‘E reckoned ’e’d five chances, an’ 'e’s ‘ad;
’E’s wounded, killed, and pris’ner, all the lot —
The ruddy lot all rolled in one. Jim’s mad.

Other works by Wilfred Owen...