She never magged; she never said no word; 
But sat an' looked at me an' never stirred. 
   I could 'a' bluffed it out if she 'ad been 
Fair narked, an' let me 'ave it wiv 'er tongue; 
It silence told me 'ow 'er 'eart wus wrung. 
      Poor 'urt Doreen!
Gorstruth! I'd sooner fight wiv fifty men
Than git one look like that frum 'er agen!
She never moved; she never spoke no word;
That 'urt look in 'er eyes, like some scared bird: 
   "'Ere is the man I loved," it seemed to say.
"'E's mine, this crawlin' thing, an' I'm 'is wife;
Tied up fer good; an' orl me joy in life
      Is chucked away!"
If she 'ad bashed me I'd 'a' felt no 'urt!
But 'ere she treats me like -- like I wus dirt.
'Ow is a man to guard agen that look?
Fer other wimmin, when the'r blokes go crook,
   An' lobs 'ome wiv the wages uv a jag,
They smashes things an' carries on a treat
An' 'owls an' scolds an' wakes the bloomin' street
      Wiv noisy mag.
But 'er -- she never speaks; she never stirs ...
I drops me bundle ... An' the game is 'ers.
Jist two months wed! Eight weeks uv married bliss 
Wiv my Doreen, an' now it's come to this!
   Wot wus I thinkin' uv? Gawd! I ain't fit 
To kiss the place 'er little feet 'as been! 
'Er that I called me wife, me own Doreen! 
      Fond dreams 'as flit; 
Love's done a bunk, an' joy is up the pole; 
An' shame an' sorrer's roostin' in me soul.
'Twus orl becors uv Ginger Mick -- the cow! 
(I wish't I 'ad 'im 'ere to deal wiv now!
   I'd pass 'im one, I would! 'E ain't no man!) 
I meets 'im Choosdee ev'nin' up the town. 
"Wot O," 'e chips me. "Kin yeh keep one down?" 
      I sez I can. 
We 'as a couple; then meets three er four 
Flash coves I useter know, an' 'as some more.
"'Ow are yeh on a little gamble, Kid?" 
Sez Ginger Mick. "Lars' night I'm on four quid.
   Come 'round an' try yer luck at Steeny's school.
"No," sez me conscience. Then I thinks, 'Why not? 
An' buy 'er presents if I wins a pot? 
      A blazin' fool 
I wus. Fer 'arf a mo' I 'as a fight; 
Then conscience skies the wipe ... Sez I "Orright."
Ten minutes later I was back once more,
Kip in me 'and, on Steeny Isaac's floor,
   Me luck was in an' I wus 'eadin' good. 
Yes, back agen amongst the same old crew! 
An' orl the time down in me 'eart I knew 
      I never should ... 
Nex' thing I knows it's after two o'clock -- 
Two in the morning! An' I've done me block!
"Wot odds?" I thinks. "I'm in fer it orright." 
An' so I stops an' gambles orl the night;
   An' bribes me conscience wiv the gilt I wins. 
But when I comes out in the cold, 'ard dawn 
I know I've crooled me pitch; me soul's in pawn. 
      My flamin' sins
They 'its me in a 'eap right where I live; 
Fer I 'ave broke the solim vow I give.
She never magged; she never said no word. 
An' when I speaks, it seems she never 'eard.
   I could 'a' sung a nim, I feels so gay!
If she 'ad only roused I might 'a' smiled. 
She jist seems 'urt an' crushed; not even riled. 
      I turns away, 
An' yanks me carkis out into the yard, 
Like some whipped pup; an' kicks meself reel 'ard.
An' then, I sneaks to bed, an' feels dead crook.
Fer golden quids I couldn't face that look --
   That trouble in the eyes uv my Doreen.
Aw, strike! Wot made me go an' do this thing?
I feel jist like a chewed up bit of string,
      An' rotten mean!
Fer 'arf an hour I lies there feelin' cheap;
An' then I s'pose, I muster fell asleep....
" 'Ere, Kid, drink this" ... I wakes, an' lifts me 'ead, 
An' sees 'er standin' there beside the bed; 
   A basin in 'er 'ands; an' in 'er eyes -- 
(Eyes that wiv unshed tears is shinin' wet) -- 
The sorter look I never shall ferget, 
      Until I dies. 
" 'Ere, Kid, drink this," she sez, an' smiles at me. 
I looks -- an' spare me days! It was beef tea!
Beef tea! She treats me like a hinvaleed! 
Me! that 'as caused 'er lovin' 'eart to bleed.
   It 'urts me worse than maggin' fer a week! 
'Er! 'oo 'ad right to turn dead sour on me, 
Fergives like that, an' feeds me wiv beef tea ... 
      I tries to speak; 
An' then -- I ain't ashamed o' wot I did --
I 'ides me face ... an' blubbers like a kid.

This poem was originally published in The Bulletin, 8 April 1915, p47 under the title "The Lapse of the Sentimental Bloke".

It was also published in:
Pickering's Salute to the Sentimental Bloke.

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-07