2 December 1917

Postcard celebrating the ceasefire on the Eastern Front. Image in public domain.

Get into a gap; they are frequent in France;
Give a gallant but war-weary brother a chance.
Set your face to the foe and your soul to the sky,
“My country,” be ever your brave battle-cry.
Get into a gap where the fighters are faint,
And the Hun gold is spreading its treacherous taint
The trench where the brother your dear mother bore,
Is a half-dazed automaton, garnished with gore,
Where the heavens drop death and the earth is a hell
And peace only comes from a bullet or shell,
Where men are but blots on a blood reddened map –
Get into a gap.

The war isn’t over by many long days.
On the fields of red Belgium the Hun cattle graze.
A hero must die for each inch that we win,
While they’re driving the murderers back to Berlin.
A thousand go down where our Lewis guns speak,
A thousand lay stark where our shrapnel guns shriek.
Like swathes of grey grass they’re bestrewing the plain,
But a thousand leap up where one savage is slain.
Won’t you come to their aid in the sectors and saps –
And fill up the gaps?

Fill up the gaps where the coal-boxes burst,
Sending hundreds a day to the base to be nursed;
Fill up the gaps where yellow gas waves
Turn the sheltering shell-holes to wire-tangled graves.
They are doing their bit while you’re slacking behind,
They are coming back paralysed, wounded and blind.
You munch near a menu; they’re glad of a bite
When the tucker mule isn’t mud-smothered at night.
Where the sky-archies belch and the trench mortars snap –
Fill up a gap.

Fill up a gap, where your brother has been;
The pay’s not excessive, the work isn’t clean.
But the man who goes NOW will be gripped by the hand,
When the peace ships come back and the weary troops land.
It is then you’ll be asked what you did in the days
When France was a shambles and Belgium ablaze.
‘Twill be then by the scorn of the women you’ll know
The craven you were when they asked you to go.
Be a man, not a weakling, home-pampered on pap –
And fill up the gap.

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This entry was posted on December 2nd, 2017.