The Man From Cook's
"You're bloody right - I was a Red,"
by Robert William Service
The Man from Cook's morosely said.
And if our chaps had won the War
Today I'd be the Governor
Of all Madrid, and rule with pride,
Instead of just a lousy guide.
"For I could talk in Councils high
To draw down angels from the sky.
They put me seven years in gaol, -
You see how I am prison-pale . . .
Death sentence! Each dawn I thought
They'd drag me out and have me shot.
"Maybe far better if they had:
Suspense like that can make one mad.
Yet here I am serene and sane,
And at your service to explain
That gory battlefield out there,
The Cité Universitaire.
"See! Where the Marzanillo flows,
The women used to wash our cloths;
And often, even in its flood,
It would be purpled by our blood.
Contemptuous of shot and shell
Our women sang and - fought like hell.
"Deep trenches there ran up and down,
And linked us with the sightless town;
And every morn and every night
We sallied savagely to fight . . .
By yon ravine in broken clad
I shot and killed a soldier lad.
"Such boys they were: methinks that one
Looked to me like my only son.
He might have been; they told my wife
Before Madrid he lost his life.
Sweet Mary! Oh if I but knew
It was not my own son I slew. . . ."
So spoke that man with eye remote
And stains of gravy on his coat;
I offered him a cigarette,
And as he sighed with vain regret,
Said he: "Don't change your dollars - wait:
I'll get you twice the market rate."