Works in the Herald 1936

Judging by certain measures discussed at the Premiers' Conference in Adelaide, it would seem that Australia's citizens, with the rest of the cultured and highly civilised world, will shortly adopt gas-masks for regular wear in certain circumstances.

I met you first in a gas-mask, dear; 
   You wore one, too, my sweet. 
But your voice was low and soft and clear 
   And you had such pretty feet. 
Your regal carriage won my heart, 
   For I sensed your soul was fine. 
I was a youthful reckless chap, 
So I took a chance on your hidden map, 
   And I asked you to be mine. 

I saw you first in a gas-mask, love,   
   You wore a rose-red gown. 
And a dozen aircraft high above 
   Were raining gas-bombs down. 
You were unnerved; but so was I; 
   And when you sought to press 
My hand, I felt the hot blood race; 
And, tho' you could not see my face, 
   You promptly murmured, "Yes."

We met and loved in our gas-masks, pet; 
   And the war would not be-gone, 
And air raids loomed each time we met, 
   So we kept the darn things on, 
Till I grew quite fond of your gargoyle guise 
   And mine appealed to you, 
As we sat and sighed, all goggle-eyed, 
While bombs burst round at eventide, 
   And vowed we would be true. 

Wedded, we stood at the old church door 
   (Ah, let the ribald scoff) 
When there came a sudden end to war 
   And we took our gas-masks off ... 
So that is you! Well, this is I! 
Courage. Take heart, dear wife. 
I heard your gasp; you heard my groan! 
Let's put them on again, my own, 
   And wear them all thro' life.

Herald, 29 August 1936

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2011