Home Thoughts from the Jungle, 1917
April in the Jungle: hot weather comes a-wooing
(Dry and dead and leaves upon the ground):
Time to quit the station and be up the hills and doing
(Pack the tents and start upon the round).
All the night we’ll hear
The little jungle deer
Crying till the coming of the sun;
Where the future’s like the past
And the next is like the last—
But the Jungle is His Majesty’s, and service must be done.
West away! West away! Heart and longing cry,
Where the guns of battle roar, where the bullets fly;
‘Also serve who stand and wait’? Very likely true;
But we who do the waiting—oh! wouldn’t we be you.
May Day in the Jungle: just a little hotter
(And the days of May are thirty-one):
Still the weary wandering, the plodding and the potter
(Kill the time with dog and rod and gun).
Now across the night
The lightning blazes bright,
Crash of thunder, rattle of the showers;
And we eat and work and sleep
While the lagging watches creep—
For the Jungle is His Majesty’s, and therefore it is ours.
West away! West away! What’s the news to-day?
Paper’s just a fortnight old, but what’s it got to say?
‘Look at what you’re missing now.’ Well, we’ve got to miss.
That’s for you, so bless your luck; we go on at this.
July in the Jungle: the southwest rains are breaking
(Flood and torrent tearing tree and stone):
Time for men who live in tents homeward to be making
(Just a hundred days of it—alone).
Weary weeks to come
When the rain will beat and drum
Roofs will leak and fevers fill the air;
But unless the luck goes wrong
Some one else may come along—
And the Jungle is His Majesty’s, and some one must be there.
West away! West away! You who’ve lived and fought,
What of those who’re out of it? Can you spare a thought?
‘Someone’s got to do your job. Funk it?’ God forbid!
We will do it, do it, do it; but—remember that we did.