Wilfred Owen: Poems

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.